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Full text of "The leopard's spots : a romance of the white man's burden--1865-1900"

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LEOPARD'S 
SPOTS 



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1HOMAS DIXON JR 



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N? KA3HARUSai_JI. CQMAH 



THE LEOPARD'S SPOTS 




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"TWO THOUSAND M?N WENT MAD. 



Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots f 

The 
Leopard's Spots 

A ROMANCE OF THE WHITE 
MAN'S BURDEN — 1865 -1900 

BY 

THOMAS DIXON, Jr. 

Author of u The One Woman M 
ILLUSTRATED BY C. D. WILLIAMS 




NEW YORK 

A* WESSELS COMPANY 

1906 



Copyright, loot, by 
Dsubleriay, Page & Company 



Att rights reserve J 
Published, March 3, 190A 



PRESS OF 

BRAUNWORTH & CO. 

BOOKBINDERS AND PRINTERS 

BROOKLYN, N. Y- 



TO 

HARRIET 

SWBET-VOICED DAUGHTER OF THE' 
OLD-FASHIONED SOUTH 



Historical Note 



In answer to hundreds of letters, I wish to say that all the 
incidents used in Book I., which is properly the prologue of 
my story, were selected from authentic records, or came 
within my personal knowledge. 

The only serious liberty I have taken with history is to 
tone down the facts to make them credible in fiction. The 
village of " Hamb right " is my birthplace, and is located 
near the center of " Military District No. 2," comprising 
the Carolinas, which were destroyed as States by an Act of 
Congress in 1867. It will be a century yet before people 
outside the South can be made to believe a literal statement 
of the history of those times. 

I tried to write this book with the utmost restraint. 

THOMAS DIXON, Jr. 

May 9, 1902, 

Elmington Manor, 

Dixondale, Va. 



CONTENTS 



BOOK I 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. A Hero Returns 3 

II. A Light Shining in Darkness ... 19 

III. Deepening Shadows ..... 30 

IV. Mr. Lincoln's Dream 34 

V. The Old and the New Church ... 38 

VI. The Preacher and the Woman of Boston . 44 

VII. The Heart of a Child ..... 52 

VIII. An Experiment in Matrimony ... 58 

IX. A Master of Men ...... 63 

X. The Man or Brute in Embryo ... 72 

XI. Simon Legree ....... 84 

XII. Red Snowdrops . 94 

XIII Dick 99 

XIV. The Negro Uprising 101 

XV. The New Citizen King 105 

XVI. Legree Speaker of the House . . . .110 

XVII. The Second Reign of Terror .... 119 

XVIII. The Red Flag of the Auctioneer . . . 131 

XIX. The Rally of the Clansmen .... 144 

XX. How Civilisation Was Saved .... 155 

XXI. The Old and the New Negro .... 165 

XXII. The Danger of Playing with Fire . . 167 

XXIII. The Birth of a Scalawag .... 173 

XXIV. A Modern Miracle 178 



XI 



atn 



Contents — Continued 



BOOK II 

JLobt'0 ZDttam 



CHAPTER 

I. Blue Eyes and Black Hair 
II. The Voice of the Tempter 

III. Flora .... 

IV. The One Woman 
V. The Morning of Love 

VI. Beside Beautiful Waters 
VII. Dreams and Fears . . 
"VIII. The Unsolved Riddle 
IX. The Rhythm of the Dance 
X. The Heart of a Villain 
XI. The Old, Old Story 
XII. The Music of the Mills . 
XIII. The First Kiss . 
XIV. A Mysterious Letter 
XV. A Blow in the Dark . 
XVI. The Mystery of Pain 
XVII. Is God Omnipotent? 
XVIII. The Ways of Boston 
XIX. The Shadow of a Doubt . 
XX. A New Lesson in Love 
XXI. Why the Preacher Threw His Life 
XXII. The Flesh and the Spirit 



PAGE 
187 

195 
202 

208 

215 
223 

236 

242 

246 

258 

267 

28o 

286 

29O 

294 

304 

309 

3*3 
320 

323 
Away 331 

. 340 



Contents — Concluded 



Xlll 



BOOK III 

C6* Crial by JFtte 

CHAPTER 

I. A Growl Beneath the Earth . 
II. Face to Face with Fate 

III. A White Lie 

IV. The Unspoken Terror 
V. A Thousand-legged Beast 

VI. The Black Peril .... 
VII. Equality with a Reservation 
VIII. The New Simon Legree . 
IX. The New America .... 
X. Another Declaration of Independence 
XI. The' Heart of a Woman 
XII. The Splendour of Shameless Love 

XIII. A Speech That Made History . 

XIV. The Red Shirts .... 
XV. The Higher Law .... 

XVI. The End of a Modern Villain 
XVII. Wedding Bells in the Governor's Mansion 



page 

35o 
355 
365 
36S 

376 
385 
389 
399 

40S 

4i3 
421 
427 
435 
449 
45i 
459 
461 



LEADING CHARACTERS OF THE STORY 



Scene: The Foothills of North Carolina — Boston — New York 
Time: From 1865 to 1900 



Charles Gaston Who dreams of a Governor's Mansion 

Sallie Worth A daughter of the old-fashioned South 

Gen. Daniel Worth Her father 

Mrs. Worth Sallie's mother 

The Rev. John Durham .... A preacher who threw his life away 
Mrs. Durham. .Of the Southern Army that never surrendered 

Tom Camp A one-legged Confederate soldier 

Flora , Tom's little daughter 

Simon Legree Ex-slave driver and Reconstruction leader 

Allan McLeod A scalawag 

Hon. Everett Lowell Member of Congress from Boston 

Helen Lowell His daughter 

Miss Susan Walker A maiden of Boston 

Major Stuart Dameron Chief of the Ku Klux Klan 

Hose Norman A dare-devil poor white man 

Nelse A black hero of the old regime 

Aunt Eve His wife — "a respectable woman" 

Hon. Tim Shelby Political boss of the new era 

Hon. Pete Sawyer. . . .Sold seven times, got the money once 

George Harris, Jr An educated Negro, son of Eliza 

Dick An unsolved riddle 



LEGREE'S REGIME 



THE LEOPARD'S SPOTS 



Booft 1 — leeree'0 IRegime 



CHAPTER I 
A HERO RETURNS 

ON the field of Appomattox General Lee was 
waiting the return of a courier. His handsome 
face was clouded by the deepening shadows of 
defeat. Rumours of surrender had spread like wildfire, 
and the ranks of his once invincible army were breaking 
into chaos. 

Suddenly the measured tread of a brigade was heard 
marching into action, every movement quick with the 
perfect discipline, the fire, and the passion of the first 
days of the triumphant Confederacy. 

"What brigade is that?" he sharply asked. 

"Cox's North Carolina," an aid replied. 

As the troops swept steadily past the General, his eyes 
filled with tears, he lifted his hat, and exclaimed, 

"God bless old North Carolina!" 

The display of matchless discipline perhaps recalled to 
the great commander that awful day of Gettysburg when 
the Twenty-sixth North Carolina infantry had charged 
with 820 men rank and file and left 704 dead and 
wounded on the ground that night. Company F from 
Campbell County charged with 91 men and lost every 
man killed and wounded. Fourteen times their colours 
were shot down, and fourteen times raised again. The 



4 The Leopard's Spots 

last time they fell from the hands of gallant Colonel 
Harry Burgwyn, twenty-one years old, commander of 
the regiment, who seized them and was holding them 
aloft when instantly killed. 

The last act of the tragedy had closed. Johnston 
surrendered to Sherman at Greensboro on April 26, 
1865, and the Civil War ended — the bloodiest, most 
destructive war the world ever saw. The earth had 
been baptised in the blood of five hundred thousand 
heroic soldiers, and a new map of the world had been 
made. 

The ragged troops were straggling home from Greens- 
boro and Appomattox along the country roads. There 
were no mails, telegraph lines or railroads. The men 
were telling the story of the surrender. White-faced 
women dressed in coarse homespun met them at their 
doors and with quivering lips heard the news. 

Surrender ! 

A new word in the vocabulary of the South — a word so 
terrible in its meaning that the date of its birth was to 
be the landmark of time. Henceforth all events would 
be reckoned from this; "before the Surrender," or 
"after the Surrender." 

Desolation everywhere marked the end of an era. 
Not a cow, a sheep, a horse, a fowl or a sign of animal 
life save here and there a stray dog, to be seen. Grim 
chimneys marked the site of once fair homes. Hedge- 
rows of tangled blackberry brier and bushes showed 
where a fence had stood before war breathed upon the 
land with its breath of fire and harrowed it with teeth 
of steel. 

These tramping soldiers looked worn and dispirited. 
Their shoulders stooped; they were dirty and hungry. 
They looked worse than they felt, and they felt that the 
end of the world had come. 



A Hero Returns 5 

They had answered those awful commands to charge 
without a murmur; and then, rolled back upon a sea of 
blood, they charged again over the dead bodies of their 
comrades. When repulsed the second time and the 
mad cry for a third charge from some desperate com- 
mander had rung over the field, still without a word they 
pulled their old ragged hats down close over their eyes as 
though to shut out the hail of bullets, and, through level 
sheets of blinding flame, walked straight into the jaws 
of hell. This had been easy. Now their feet seemed to 
falter as though they were not sure of the road. 

In every one of these soldiers' hearts, and over all the 
earth, hung the shadow of the freed Negro, transformed 
by the exigency of war from a Chattel, to be bought 
and sold, into a possible Beast to be feared and guarded. 
Around this dusky figure every white man's soul was 
keeping its grim vigil. 

North Carolina, the typical American Democracy, 
had loved peace and sought in vain to stand between 
the mad passions of the Cavalier of the South and the 
Puritan fanatic of the North. She entered the war at 
last with a sorrowful heart, but a soul clear in the sense 
of tragic duty. She sent more boys to the front than 
any other state of the Confederacy — and left more dead 
on the field. She made the last charge and fired the 
last volley for Lee's army at Appomattox. 

These were the ragged country boys who were slowly 
tramping homeward. The group whose fortunes we 
are to follow were marching toward the little village 
of Kambright that nestled in the foothills of the Blue 
Ridge under the shadows of King's Mountain. They 
were the sons of the men who had first declared their 
independence of Great Britain in America and had made 
their country a hornet's nest for Lord Cornwallis in the 
darkest days of the cause of Liberty. What tongue 



6 The Leopard's Spots 

can tell the tragic story of their humble home coming ? 
In rich Northern cities could be heard the boom of 
guns, the scream of steam whistles, the shouts of surging 
hosts greeting returning regiments crowned with victory. 
From every flagstaff fluttered proudly the flag that our 
fathers had lifted in the sky — the flag that had never 
met defeat. 

It is little wonder that in this hour of triumph the 
world should forget the defeated soldiers who, without 
a dollar in their pockets, were tramping to their ruined 
homes. 

Yet Nature did not seem to know of sorrow or death. 
Birds were singing their love songs from the hedgerows, 
the fields were clothed in gorgeous robes of wild flowers, 
beneath which forget-me-nots spread their contrasting 
hues of blue, while life was busy in bud and starting leaf, 
reclothing the blood-stained earth in radiant beauty. 

As the sun was setting behind the peaks of the Blue 
Ridge, a giant negro entered the village of Hambright. 
He walked rapidly down one of the principal streets, 
passed the court-house square unobserved in the gather- 
ing twilight, and three blocks farther along paused before 
a law-office that stood in the corner of a beautiful lawn 
filled with shrubbery and flowers. 

"Dar's de ole home, praise de Lawd! En now I*se 
erfeard ter see my Missy, en tell her Marse Charles's 
daid. Hit '11 kill her. Lawd hab mussy on my po' black 
soul! How kin I!" 

He walked softly up the alley that led toward the 
kitchen past the "big" house, which after all was a 
modest cottage boarded up and down with weatherstrips 
nestling amid a labyrinth of climbing roses, honey- 
suckles, fruit-bearing shrubbery and balsam trees. 
The negro had no difficulty in concealing his movements 
as he passed. 



A Hero Returns 7 

"Lordy, dar's Missy watchin' at de winder! How 
pale she look ! En she wuz de purties' bride in de two 
counties. God-der-mighty, I mils' git somebody ter 
he'p me. I nebber tell her. She drap daid right 'fore 
my eyes, en hant me twell I die. I run fetch de Preacher, 
Marse John Durham; he kin tell her." 

A few moments later he was knocking at the door of 
the parsonage of the Baptist church. 

"Nelse! At last! I knew you'd come!" 

"Yassir, Marse John, I'se home. Hit's me." 

"And your Master is dead. I was sure of it, but I 
never dared tell your Mistress. You came for me to help 
you tell her. People said you had gone over into the 
promised land of freedom and forgotten your people; 
but, Nelse, I never believed it of you, and I'm doubly 
glad to shake your hand to-night because you've brought 
a brave message from heroic lips and because you have 
brought a braver message in your honest black face of 
faith and duty and life and love." 

"Thankee, Marse John; I wuz erbleeged ter come 
home." 

The Preacher stepped into the hall and called the 
servant from the kitchen. 

"Aunt Mary, when your Mistress returns tell her I've 
received an urgent call and will not be at home for 
supper." 

"I'll be ready in a minute, Nelse," he said, as he 
disappeared into the study. When he reached his desk, 
he paused and looked about the room in a helpless way 
as though trying to find some half-forgotten volume in 
the rows of books that lined the walls and lay in piles 
on his desk and tables. He knelt beside the desk and 
prayed. When he rose there was a soft light in his 
eyes that were half filled with tears. 

Standing in the dim light of his study he was a 



8 The Leopard's Spots 

striking man. He had a powerful figure of medium 
height, deep, piercing eyes, and a high intellectual 
forehead. His hair was black and thick. He was a 
man of culture, had graduated at the head of his class 
at Wake Forest College before the war, and was a 
profound student of men and books. He was now 
thirty-five years old and the acknowledged leader of the 
Baptist denomination in the state. He was eloquent, 
witty, and proverbially good-natured. His voice in the 
pulpit was soft and clear, and full of a magnetic quality 
that gave him hypnotic power over an audience. He 
had the prophetic temperament and was more of poet 
than theologian. 

The people of this village were proud of the man as 
a citizen and loved him passionately as their preacher. 
Great churches had called him, but he had never 
accepted. There was in his make-up an element of the 
missionary that gave his personality a peculiar force. 

He had been the college mate of Colonel Charles 
Gaston, whose faithful slave had come to him for help, 
and they had always been bosom friends. He had 
performed the marriage ceremony for the Colonel ten 
years before, when he had led to the altar the beautiful 
daughter of the richest planter in the adjoining county. 
Durham's own heart was profoundly moved by his 
friend's happiness, and he threw into the brief pre 
liminary address so much of tenderness and earnest 
passion that the trembling bride and groom forgot their 
fright and were melted to tears. Thus began an 
association of their family life that was closer than 
their college days. 

He closed his lips firmly for an instant, softly shut the 
door and was soon on the way with Nelse. On reaching 
the house, Nelse went directly to the kitchen, while the 
Preacher, walking along the circular drive, approached 



A Hero Returns 9 

the front. His foot had scarcely touched the step when 
Mrs. Gaston opened the door. 

"Oh, Doctor Durham, I am so glad you have come !" 
she exclaimed. "I've been depressed to-day, watching 
the soldiers go by. All day long the poor footsore 
fellows have been passing. I stopped some of them to 
ask about Colonel Gaston and I thought one of them 
knew something and would not tell me. I brought him 
in and gave him dinner, and tried to coax him, but he 
only looked wistfully at me, stammered, and said he 
didn't know. But somehow I feel that he did. Come 
in, Doctor, and say something to cheer me. If I only 
had your faith in God." 

11 1 have need of it all to-night, Madam ! " he answered 
with a bowed head. 

"Then you have heard bad news?" 

"I have heard news — wonderful news of faith and 
love, of heroism and knightly valour, that will be a 
priceless heritage to you and yours. Nelse has 
returned " 

"God have mercy on me!" she gasped, covering her 
face and raising her arm as though cowering from a 
mortal blow. 

"Here is Nelse, Madam. Hear his story. He has 
only told me a word or two." Nelse had slipped quietly 
in the back door. 

"Yassum, Missy, I'se home at las'." 

She looked at him strangely for a moment. "Nelse, 
I've dreamed and dreamed of your coming, but always 
with him. And now you come alone to tell me he is 
dead. Lord have pity — there is nothing left !" There 
was a far-away sound in her voice as though half 
dreaming. 

"Yas, Missy, dey is; I jes seed him — my young 
Marster — dem bright eyes, de ve'y nose, de chin, de 



io The Leopard's Spots 

motif ! He walks des like Marse Charles, he talks like 
him, he de ve'y spit er him, en how he hez growed ! He'll 
be er man* fo' you knows it. En I'se got er letter fum 
his Pa fur him, an' er letter fur you, Missy." 

At this moment Charlie entered the room, slipped past 
Nelse and climbed into his mother's arms. He was a 
sturdy little fellow of eight years, with big brown eyes 
and sensitive mouth. 

"Yassir — Ole Grant wuz er pushin' us dar afo' 
Richmon*. 'Pear ter me lak Marse Robert been er 
fightin' him ev'y day for six monts. But he des keep 
on pushin' en pushin' us. Marse Charles say ter me one 
night after I been playin' de banjer fur de boys, ' Come 
ter my tent, Nelse, 'fo' turnin' in — I wants ter see you.' 
He talk so solemn like, I cut de banjer short en go right 
erlong wid him. He been er writin' en done had two 
letters writ. He say, * Nelse, we gwine ter git outen dese 
trenches ter-morrer. It twell be my las' charge. I 
feel it. Ef I falls, you take my swode en watch en dese 
letters back home to your Mist 'ess and young Marster, 
en you promise me, boy, to stan' by 'em in life ez I stan' 
by you.' He know I lub him bettern any body in dis 
worl', en dat I'd rudder be his slave dan be free if he's 
daid. En I say, 'Dat I will, Marse Charles.' 

*'De nex' day we up en charge ole Grant. 'Pears ter 
me I nebber see so many dead Yankees on dis yearth ez 
we see layin' on de groun' whar we brake froo dem 
lines ! But dey des kep fetchin' up anudder army back 
er de one we breaks, twell bimeby, dey swing er whole 
millyon er Yankees right plum behin' us, en five millyon 
er fresh uns come er swoopin' down in front. Den yer 
otter see my Marster ! He des kinder riz in de air — 
'pear ter me like he wuz er foot taller — en say to his men 
— " 'Bout face, en charge de line in de rear !' Wall, sar, 
we cut er hole clean froo dem Yankees en er minute, en 



A Hero Returns n 

den 'bout face ergin en begin ter walk backerds er 
fightin' like wilecats ev'y inch. We git mos' back ter de 
trenches, when Marse Charles drap des lak er flash ! I 
runned up to him, en der wuz er big hole in his areas' 
whar er bullet gone clean froo his heart. He nebber 
groan. I tuk his head up in my arms en cry en take on 
en call him ! I pull back his close en listen at his heart. 
Hit wuz still. I takes de swode an de watch en de 
letters outen de pockets en start on — when, bress God ! 
yer cum dat whole Yankee army ten hundred millyons, 
en dey tromple all over us ! 

"Den I hear er Yankee say ter me, 'Now, my man, 
you'se free.' 'Yassir,' sezzi, 'dats so,' en den I see a hole 
ter run whar dey warn't no Yankees, en I run spang 
into er millyon mo'. De Yankees wuz ev'ywhar. 'Pear 
ter me lak dey riz outer de groun'. All dat day I try 
ter get away fum 'em. En long 'bout night dey 'rested 
me en fetch me up 'fo' er Genr'l, en he say, 

" * What you tryin' ter get froo our lines fur, nigger? 
Doan yer know yer free now, en if you go back you'd be 
a slave ergin?' 

"'Dats so, sah,' sezzi; 'but I'se 'bleeged ter go home.' 

'"What for?' sezze. 

"'Promise Marse Charles ter take dese letters en 
swode en watch back home to my Missus en young 
Marster, en dey waitin' fur me — I'se 'bleeged ter go.' 

" ' Den he tuk de letters en read er minute, en his eyes 
gin ter water en he choke up en say, ' Go-long ! ' 

"Den I skeedaddled ergin. Dey kep on ketchin' me 
twell bimeby er nasty, stinkin', low-life, slue-footed 
Yankee kotched me en say dat I wuz er dange'us nigger, 
en sont me wid er lot er our prisoners way up ter ole 
Jonson's Islan', whar I mos' froze ter deaf. I stay dar 
twell one day er fine lady what say she from Boston 
cum erlong en I up en tells her all erbout Marse Charles 



12 The Leopard's Spots 

and my Missus, en how dey all waitin' fur me, en how 
bad I want ter go home, en de nex' news I knowed I 
wuz on er train er whizzin' down home wid my way all 
paid. I get wid our men at Greensboro en come right 
on fas' ez my legs'd carry me." 

There was silence for a moment, and then slowly Mrs. 
Gaston said, "May God reward you, Nelse !" 

"Yassum, Fse free, Missy, but I gwine ter wuk for 
you en my young Marster." 

Mrs. Gaston had lived daily in a sort of trance through 
those four years of war, dreaming and planning for the 
great day when her lover would return a handsome, 
bronzed and famous man. She had never conceived of 
the possibility of a world without his will and love to 
lean upon. The Preacher was both puzzled and alarmed 
by the strangely calm manner she now assumed. Before 
leaving the home he cautioned Aunt Eve to watch her 
Mistress closely and send for him if anything happened. 

When the boy was asleep in the nursery adjoining her 
room, she quietly closed the door, took the sword of 
her dead lover-husband in her lap, and looked long 
and tenderly at it. On the hilt she pressed her lips in 
a lingering kiss. 

"Here his dear hand must have rested last!" she 
murmured. She sat motionless for an hour with eyes 
fixed without seeing. At last she rose and hung the 
sword beside his picture near her bed and drew from 
her bosom the crumpled, worn letters Nelse had brought. 
The first was addressed to her. 

" In the Trenches near Richmond, May 4. 1864. 

"Sweet Wifie: I have a presentiment to-night that 
I shall not live to see you again. I feel the shadows of 
defeat and ruin closing upon us. I am surer day by 
day that our cause is lost, and surrender is a word I 



A Hero Returns 13 

have never learned to speak. If I could only see you 
for one hour, that I might tell you all I have thought 
in the lone watches of the night in camp, or marching 
over desolate fields. Many tender things I have never 
said to you I have learned in these days. I write this 
last message to * ;11 you how, more and more beyond 
the power of words to express, your love has grown upon 
me, until your spirit seems the breath I breathe. My 
heart is so full of love for you and my boy that I can't 
go into battle now without thinking how many hearts 
will ache and break in far-away homes because of the 
work I am about to do. I am sick of it all. I long to 
be at home again and walk with my sweet young bride 
among the flowers she loves so well, and hear the old 
mocking-bird that builds each spring in those rose- 
bushes at our window. 

" If I am killed, you must live for our boy and rear 
him to a glorious manhood in the new nation that will 
be born in this agony. I love you — I love you unto the 
uttermost, and beyond death I will live, if only to love 
you forever. Always in life or death your own, 

"Charles." 

For two hours she held this letter open in her hands 
and seemed unable to move it. And then mechanically 
she opened the one addressed to " Charles Gaston, Jr." 

"My Darling Boy: I send by you Nelse my watch 
and sword. It will be all I can bequeath to you from 
the wreck that will follow the war. This sword was your 
great-grandfather's. He held it as he charged up the 
heights of King's Mountain against Ferguson and helped 
to carve this nation out of a wilderness. It was a sor- 
rowful day for me when I felt it my duty to draw that 
sword against the old flag in defense of my home and 



14 The Leopard's Spots 

my people. You will live to see a reunited country. 
Hang this sword back beside the old flag of our fathers 
when the end has come, and always remember that it 
was never drawn from its scabbard by your father, or 
your grandfather, who fought with Jackson at New 
Orleans, or your great-grandfather in the Revolution, 
save in the cause of justice and right. I am not fighting to 
hold slaves in bondage. I am fighting for the inalienable 
rights of my people under the Constitution our fathers 
created. It may be we have outgrown this Constitution. 
But I calmly leave to God and history the question as 
to who is right in its interpretation. Whatever you 
do in life, first, last and always do what you believe 
to be right. Everything else is of little importance. 
With a heart full of love, Your father, 

"Charles Gaston." 

This letter she must have held open for hours, for it 
was two o'clock in the morning when a wild peal of 
laughter rang from her feverish lips and brought Aunt 
Eve and Nelse hurrying into the room. 

It took but a moment for them to discover that their 
Mistress was suffering from a violent delirium. They 
soothed her as best they could. The noise and confusion 
had awakened the boy. Running to the door leading 
into his mother's room, he found it bolted, and with his 
little heart fluttering in terror he pressed his ear close 
to the keyhole and heard her wild ravings. How 
strange her voice seemed ! Her voice had always been 
so soft and low and full of soothing music. Now it was 
sharp and hoarse and seemed to rasp his flesh with 
needles. What could it all mean? Perhaps the end 
of the world, about which he had heard the Preacher 
talk on Sundays. At last, unable to bear the terrible 
suspense longer, he cried through the keyhole: 



A Hero Returns 15 

"Aunt Eve, what's the matter? Open the door, 
quick." 

"No, honey, you mustn't come in. Yo' Ma's awful 
sick. You run out ter de barn, ketch de mare, en fly for 
de doctor while me en Nelse stay wid her. Run, honey, 
day's nuttin' ter hurt yer." 

His little bare feet were soon pattering over the 
long stretch of the back porch toward the barn. The 
night was clear and the sky studded with stars. There 
was no moon. He was a brave little fellow, but a fear 
greater than all the terrors of ghosts and the white 
sheeted dead with which Negro superstition had rilled 
his imagination, now nerved his child's soul. His 
mother was about to die. His very heart ceased to 
beat at the thought. He must bring the doctor and 
bring him quickly. 

He flew to the stable, not looking to the right or the 
left. The mare whinnied as he opened the door to get 
the bridle. 

"It's me, Bessie. Mamma's sick. We must go for 
the doctor, quick!" 

The mare thrust her head obediently down to the 
child's short arm for the bridle. She seemed to know 
by some instinct his quivering voice had roused that 
the home was in distress and her hour had come to bear 
a part. 

In a moment he led her out through the gate, climbed 
on the fence, and sprang on her back. 

"Now, Bess, fly for me!" he half whispered, half 
cried through the tears he could no longer keep back. 
The mare bounded forward in a swift gallop as she felt 
his trembling bare legs clasp her sides, and the clatter 
of her hoofs echoed in the boy's ears through the silent 
streets like the thunder of charging cavalry. How still 
the night ! He saw shadows under the trees, shut his 



1 6 The Leopard's Spots 

eyes and leaning low on the mare's neck patted her 
shoulders with his hands and cried, 

"Faster, Bessie, faster ! " And then he tried to pray. 
"Lord, don't let her die! Please, dear God, and I will 
always be good. I am sorry I robbed the birds' nests 
last summer — I'll never do it again. Please, Lord, I'm 
such a wee boy and I'm so lonely. I can't lose my 
Mamma!" — and the voice choked and became a great 
sob. He looked across the square as he passed the 
court-house in a gallop and saw a light in the window 
of the parsonage and felt its rays warm his soul like an 
answer to his prayer. 

He reached the Doctor's house on the farther side 
of the town, sprang from the mare's back, bounded up 
the steps and knocked at the door. No one answered. 
He knocked again. How loud it rang through the hall ! 
Maybe the Doctor was gone. He had not thought of 
such a possibility before. He choked at the thought. 
Springing quickly from the steps to the ground he felt 
for a stone, bounded back and began to pound on the 
door with all his might. 

The window was raised, and the old Doctor thrust his 
head out, calling, 

" What on earth's the matter ? Who is that ? " 

"It's me, Charlie Gaston — my Mamma's sick — she's 
awful sick, I'm afraid she's dying — you must come 
quick!" 

"All right, sonny; I'll be ready in a minute." 

The boy waited and waited. It seemed to him hours, 
days, weeks, years ! To every impatient call the Doctor 
would answer: 

"In a minute, sonny, in a minute." 

At last he emerged with his lantern, to catch his 
horse. The Doctor seemed so slow. He fumbled over 
the harness. 



A Hero Returns 17 

" Oh, Doctor, you're so slow ! I tell you my Mamma's 
sick !" 

"Well, well, my boy, we'll soon be there," the old 
man kindly replied. 

When the boy saw the Doctor's horse jogging quickly 
toward his home he turned the mare's head aside as he 
reached the court-house square, roused the Preacher, 
and between his sobs told the story of his mother's 
illness. Mrs. Durham had lost her only boy two years 
before. Soon Charlie was sobbing in her arms. 

"You poor little darling, out by yourself so late at 
night; were you not scared?" she asked as she kissed 
the tears from his eyes. 

M Yessum, I was scared, but I had to go for the doctor. 
I want you and Doctor Durham to come as quick as you 
can. I'm afraid to go home. I'm afraid she's dead, or 
I'll hear her laugh that awful way I heard to-night." 

"Of course we will come, dear, right away. We will 
be there almost as soon as you can get to the house." 

He rode slowly along the silent street, looking back 
now and then for the Preacher and his wife. As he 
was passing a small deserted house he saw, to his horror, 
a ragged man peering into the open window. Before 
he had time to run, the man stepped quickly up to the 
mare and said, 

"Who lived here last, little man?" 

"Old Miss Spurlin," answered the boy. 

"Where is she now?" 

"She's dead." 

The man sighed, and the boy saw by his gray uniform 
that he was a soldier just back from the war, and he 
quickly added: 

"Folks said they had a hard time, but Preacher 
Durham helped them lots when they had nothing to 
eat." 



1 8 The Leopard's Spots 

"So my poor old mother's dead. I was afraid of it." 
He seemed to be talking to himself. "And do you 
know where her gal is that lived with her ? " 

"She's in a little house down in the woods below 
town. They say she's a bad woman, and my Mamma 
would never let me go near her." 

The man flinched as though struck with a knife, 
steadied himself for a moment with his hands on the 
mare's neck and said: 

"You're a brave little one to be out alone this time 
o' night — what's your name?" 

"Charles Gaston." 

"Then you're my Colonel's boy; many a time I 
followed him where men were fallin' like leaves — I wish 
to God I was with him now in the ground ! Don't tell 
anybody you saw me — them that knowed me will 
think I'm dead, and it's better so." 

"Good-by, sir," said the child. "I'm sorry for*you if 
you've got no home. I'm after the doctor for my 
Mamma — she's very sick. I'm afraid she's going to die, 
and if you ever pray I wish you'd pray for her." 

The soldier came closer. "I wish I knew how to 
pray, my boy. But it seemed to me I forgot everything 
that was good in the war, and there's nothin' left but 
death and hell. But I'll not forget you; good-by!" 

When Charlie was in bed, he lay an hour with wide- 
staring eyes, holding his breath now and then to catch 
the faintest sound from his mother's room. All was 
quiet at last and he fell asleep. But he was no longer 
a child. The shadow of a great sorrow had enveloped 
his soul and clothed him with the dignity and fellowship 
of the mystery of pain. 



CHAPTER II 
A LIGHT SHINING IN DARKNESS 

IN the rear of Mrs. Gaston's place there stood in the 
midst of an orchard a log house of two rooms, 
with a hallway between them. There was a mud- 
thatched wooden chimney at each end, and from the 
back of the hallway a kitchen extension of the same 
material with another mud chimney. The house stood 
in the middle of a ten-acre lot, and a woman was busy 
in the garden with a little girl, planting seed. 

"Hurry up, Annie, le's finish this in time to fix up a 
fine dinner er greens, an' turnips, an' 'taters an' a 
chicken. Yer Pappy '11 get home to-day, sure. Colonel 
Gaston's Nelse come last night. Yer Pappy was in the 
Colonel's regiment, an' Nelse said he passed him on the 
road comin' with two one-legged soldiers. He ain't 
got but one leg, he says. But, Lord, if there's a piece 
of him left we'll praise God an' be thankful for what 
we've got." 

"Maw, how did he look? I mos' forgot — 's been so 
long sence I seed him?" asked the child. 

"Look! Honey, he was the handsomest man in 
Campbell County ! He had a tall, fine figure, brown, 
curly beard, and the sweetest mouth that was always 
smilin' at me, an' his eyes twinklin' over somethin' 
funny he'd seed or thought about. When he was 
young ev'ry gal around here was crazy about him. I 
got him all right, an' he got me, too. Oh, me ! I can't 
help but cry, to think he's been gone so long. But he's 
comin' to-day ! I jes' feel it in my bones." 

10 



20 The Leopard's Spots 

"Look a-yonder, Maw, what a skeercrow ridin' er ole 
hoss," cried the girl, looking suddenly toward the road. 

"Glory to God! It's Tom!" she shouted, snatching 
her old faded sun-bonnet off her head and fairly flying 
across the field to the gate, her cheeks aflame, her blond 
hair tumbling over her shoulders, her eyes wet with tears. 

Tom was entering the gate of his modest home in as 
fine style as possible, seated proudly on a stack of bones 
that had once been a horse, an old piece of wool on his 
head that once had been a hat and a wooden peg fitted 
into a stump where once was a leg. His face was pale 
and stained with the red dust of the hill roads, and his 
beard, now iron gray, and his ragged, buttonless uniform 
were covered with dirt. He was truly a sight to scare 
crows, if not of interest to buzzards. But to the woman 
whose swift feet were hurrying to his side, and whose 
lips were muttering half-articulate cries of love, he was 
the knightliest figure that ever rode in the lists before 
the assembled beauty of the world. 

"Oh, Tom, Tom, Tom, my ole man! You've come 
at last !" she sobbed, as she threw her arms around his 
neck, drew him from the horse and fairly smothered 
him with kisses. 

"Look out, ole woman, you'll break my new leg!" 
cried Tom, when he could get breath. 

"I don't care — I'll get you another one," she laughed 
through her tears. 

"Look out there again, you're smashing my game 
shoulder. Got er Minie ball in that one." 

"Well, your mouth's all right, I see," cried the 
delighted woman, as she kissed and kissed him. 

"Say, Annie, don't be so greedy; give me a chance at 
my young one." Tom's eyes were devouring the 
excited girl who had drawn nearer. 

"Come and kiss your Pappy and tell him how glad 



A Light Shining in Darkness 2\ 

you are to see him!" said Tom, gathering her in his. 
arms and attempting to carry her to the house. 

He stumbled and fell. In a moment the strong arms 
of his wife were about him and she was helping him 
into the house. 

She laid him tenderly on the bed, petted him and 
cried over him. "My poor old man, he's all shot and 
cut to pieces. You're so weak, Tom — I can't believe it. 
You were so strong. But we'll take care of you. Don't 
you worry. You just sleep a week and then rest all 
summer and watch us work the garden for you!" 

He lay still for a few moments with a smile playing 
around his lips. 

"Lord, ole woman, you don't know how nice it is to 
be petted like that, to hear a woman's voice, feel her 
breath on your face and the touch of her hand warm 
and soft, after four years' sleeping on dirt and living with 
men and mules, and fightin' and runnin' and diggin* 
trenches like rats and moles, killin' men, buryin' the 
dead like carrion, holdin' men while doctors sawed their 
legs off, till your turn came to be held and sawed. You 
can't believe it, but this is the first feather bed I've 
touched in four years. " 

"Well, well — bless God it's over now!" she cried. 
"S'long as I've got two strong arms to slave for you — 
as long as there's a piece of you left big enough to hold 
on to — I'll work for you," and again she bent low over 
his pale face, and crooned over him as she had so often 
done over his baby in those four lonely years of war and 
poverty. 

Suddenly Tom pushed her aside and sprang up in bed. 

"Geemimy, Annie, I forgot my pardners — there's two 
more peg-legs out at the gate by this time waiting for 
us to get through huggin' and carryin' on before they 
come in. Run, fetch 'em in quick!" 



22 The Leopard's Spots 

Tom struggled to his feet and met them at the door. 

"Come right into my palace, boys. I've seen some 
fine places in my time, but this is the handsomest one I 
ever set ey^o <">n. Now, Annie, put the big pot in the 
little one and aon't stand back for expenses. Let's have 
a dinner these fellers '11 never forget." 

It was a teast they never forgot. Tom's wife had 
raised a brood of early chickens, and managed to keep 
them from being stolen. She killed four of them and 
cooked them as only a Southern woman knows how. 
She had sweet potatoes carefully saved in the mound 
against the kitchen chimney. There were turnips and 
greens and radishes, young onions and lettuce and hot- 
corn dodgers fit for a king ; and in the center of the table 
she deftly fixed a pot of wild flowers little Annie had 
gathered. She did not tell them that it was the last peck 
of potatoes and the last pound of meal. That belonged 
to the morrow. To-day they would live. 

They laughed and joked over this splendid banquet, 
and told stories of days and nights of hunger and 
exhaustion, when they had filled their empty stomachs 
with dreams of home. 

"Miss Camp, you've got the best husband in seven 
states, did you know that?" asked one of the soldiers, 
a mere boy. 

" Of course she'll agree to that, sonny, " laughed Tom. 

"Well, it's so. If it hadn't been for him, Ma'am, we'd 
'a' been peggin' along somewhere way up in Virginny 
'stead c' bein' so close to home. You see, he let us ride 
his hoss a mile and then he'd ride a mile. We took it 
turn about, and here we are. " 

"Tom, how in this world did you get that horse?" 
asked his wife. 

"Honey, I got him on my good looks," said he with 
a wink. "You see, I was 'a' settin' out there in the sun 



A Light Shining in Darkness 23 

the day o' the surrender. I was sorter cryin' and 
wonderin' how I'd get home with that stump of wood 
instead of a foot, when along come a chunky, heavy-set 
Yankee general, looking as glum as though his folks 
had surrendered instead of Marse Robert. He saw me, 
stopped, looked at me a minute right hard ^nd says, 
' Where do you live ? ' 

"'Way down in ole No'th Caliny, ' I says, 'at 
Hambright, not far from King's Mountain. ' 

*** How are you going to get home? ' says he. 

" ' God knows, I don't, General. I got a wife and baby 
down there I ain't seed fer nigh four years, and I want 
to see 'em so bad I can taste 'em. I was lookin' the 
other way when I said that, fer I was purty well played 
out, and feelin' weak and watery about the eyes, an' I 
didn't want no Yankee general to see water in my eyes. ' 

"He called a feller to him and sorter snapped out to 
him, 'Go bring the best horse you can spare for this 
man and give it to him. ' 

"Then he turns to me and seed I was all choked up 
and couldn't say nothin' and says: 

"'I'm General Grant. Give my love to your folks 
when you get home. I've known what it was to be a 
poor white man down South myself once for awhile. ' 

"'God bless you, General. I thanks you from the 
bottom of my heart, ' I says as quick as I could find my 
tongue; 'if it had to be surrender I'm glad it was to 
such a man as you. ' 

"He never said another word, but just walked slow 
along smoking a big cigar. So, ole woman, you know 
the reason I named that hoss ' General Grant. ' It may 
be I've seen finer hosses than that one, but I couldn't 
recollect anything about 'em on the road home. " 

Dinner over, Tom's comrades rose and looked wist- 
fully down the dusty road leading southward 



24 The Leopard's Spots 

4 ' Well, Tom, ole man, we gotter be er movin', " said the 
older of the two soldiers. "We're powerful obleeged 
to you fur helpin' us along this fur. " 

"All right, boys; you'll find yer train standin' on the 
side o' the track eatin' grass. Jes climb up, pull the 
lever and let her go." 

The men's faces brightened, their lips twitched. They 
looked at Tom and then at the old horse. They looked 
down the long dusty road stretching over hill and 
valley, hundreds of miles south, and then at Tom's wife 
and child, whispered to one another a moment, and the 
elder said: 

"No, pardner; you've been awful good to us, but 
we'll get along somehow — we can't take yer hoss. It's 
all yer got now ter make a livin' on yer place. " 

"All I got!" shouted Tom. "Man alive, ain't you 
seed my ole woman, as fat and jolly and han'some as 
when I married her 'leven years ago? Didn't you hear 
her cryin' an' shoutin' like she's crazy when I got home ? 
Didn't you see my little gal with eyes jes like her 
daddy's ? Don't you see my cabin standin' as purty as a 
ripe peach in the middle of the orchard, when hundreds 
of fine houses are lyin' in ashes? Ain't I got ten acres 
of land? Ain't I got God Almighty above me and all 
around me, the same God that watched over me on the 
battle-fields ? All I got ? That old stack o' bones that 
looks like er hoss? Well, I reckon not !" 

"Pardner, it ain't right," grumbled the soldier, with 
more of cheerful thanks than protest in his voice. 

"Oh, get off, you fools!" said Tom, good-naturedly. 
"Ain't it my hoss ? Can't I do what I please with it ? " 

So with hearty hand-shakes they parted, the two 
astride the old horse's back. One had lost his right 
leg, the other his left, and this gave them a good leg 
on each side to hold the cargo straight. 



A Light Shining in Darkness 25 

"Take keer yerself, Tom!" they both cried in the 
same breath as they moved away. 

"Take keer yerselves, boys; I'm all right I" answered 
Tom, as he stumped his way back to the home. "It's 
all right, it's all right," he muttered to himself. "He'd 
'a' come in handy, but I'd 'a' never slept thinkin' o' 
them peggin' along them rough roads." 

Before reaching the house he sat down on a wooden 
bench beneath a tree to rest. It was the first week in 
May and the leaves were not yet grown. The sun was 
pouring his hot rays down into the moist earth and the 
heat began to feel like summer. As he drank in the 
beauty and glory of the spring his soul was melted with 
joy. The fruit trees were laden with the promise of the 
treasures of the summer and autumn, a catbird was 
singing softly to his mate in the tree over his head, and 
a mocking-bird seated in the topmost branch of an elm 
near his cabin home was leading the oratorio of feathered 
songsters. The wild plum and blackberry briers were 
in full bloom in the fence corners, and the sweet odour 
filled the air. He heard his wife singing in the 
house. 

"It's a fine old world after all!" he exclaimed, 
leaning back and half closing his eyes, while a sense of 
ineffable peace filled his soul. "Peace at last ! Thank 
God ! May I never see a gun or a sword or hear a drum 
or a fife's scream on this earth again ! " 

A hound came close, wagging his tail and whining for 
a word of love and recognition. 

"Well, Bob, old boy, you're the only one left. You'll 
have to chase cottontails by yourself now." 

Bob's eyes watered and he licked his master's hand, 
apparently understanding every word he said. 

Breaking from his master's hands, the dog ran toward 
the gate barking, and Tom rose in haste as he recognised 



26 The Leopard's Spots 

the sturdy tread of the Preacher, Reverend John 
Durham, walking rapidly toward the house. 

Grasping him heartily by the hand the Preacher said : 

"Tom, you don't know how it warms my soul to look 
into your face again. When you left I felt like a man 
who had lost one hand. I've found it to-day. You're 
the same stalwart Christian full of joy and love. Some 
men's religion didn't stand the wear and tear of war. 
You've come out with your soul like gold tried in the 
fire. Colonel Gaston wrote me }'ou were the finest 
soldier in the regiment, and that you were the only 
Chaplain he had seen that he could consult for his own 
soul's cheer. That's the kind of a deacon to send to 
the front. I'm proud of you, and you're still at your 
old tricks. I met two one-legged soldiers down the 
road riding your horse away as though you had a 
stableful at your command. You needn't apologise or 
explain: they told me all about it." 

"Preacher, it's good to have the Lord's messenger 
speak words like them. I can't tell you how glad I am 
to be home again and shake your hand. I tell you it 
was a comfort to me when I lay awake at night on them 
battle-fields, a-wonderin' what had become of my ole 
woman and the baby, to recollect that you were here, 
and how often I'd heard you tell us how the Lord 
tempered the wind to the shorn lamb. Annie's been 
telling me who watched out for her them dark days 
when there was nothin' to eat. I reckon you and your 
wife knows the way to this house about as well as you 
do to the church." 

Tom had pulled the Preacher down on the seat beside 
him while he said this. 

"The dark days have only begun, Tom. I've come 
to see you to have you cheer me up. Somehow you 
always seemed to me to be closer to God than any man 



A Light Shining in Darkness 27 

in the church. You will need all your faith now. It 
seems to me that every second woman I know is a 
widow. Hundreds of families have no seed even to 
plant, no horses to work crops, no men who will work 
if they had horses. What are we to do ? I see hungry 
children in every house." 

"Preacher, the Lord is looking down here to-day and 
sees all this as plain as you and me. As long as He is 
in the sky everything will come all right on the earth." 

"How's your pantry?" asked the Preacher. 

"Don't know. 'Man shall not live by bread alone,' 
you know. When I hear these birds in the trees an' 
see this old dog waggin' his tail at me, and smell the 
breath of them flowers, and it all comes over me that I'm 
done killin' men, and I'm at home, with a bed to sleep 
on, a roof over my head, a woman to pet me and tell 
me I'm great and handsome, I don't feel like I'll ever 
need anything more to eat. I believe I could live a 
whole month here without eatin' a bite." 

"Good. You come to the prayer meeting to-night 
and say a few things like that, and the folks will believe 
they have been eating three square meals every day." 

"I'll be there. I ain't asked Annie what she's got, 
but I know she's got greens and turnips, onions and 
collards, and strawberries in the garden. Irish 'taters '11 
be big enough to eat in three weeks, and sweets comin' 
right c 1. We've got a few chickens. The blackberries 
and pi ms and peaches and apples are all on the road. 
Ah, Preacher, it's my soul that's been starved away 
from n 7 wife and child ! ' ' 

"You don't know how much I need help sometimes, 
Tom. I am always giving, giving myself in sympathy 
and help to others; I'm famished now and then. I 
feel faint and worn out. You seem to fill me again 
with life." 



28 The Leopard's Spots 

"I'm glad to hear you say that, Preacher. I get 
downhearted sometimes, when I recollect I'm nothin' 
but a poor white man. I'll remember your words. 
I'm going to do my part in the church work. You 
know where to find me." 

"Well, that's partly what brought me here this 
morning. I want you to help me look after Mrs. Gaston 
and her little boy. She is prostrated over the death of 
the Colonel and is hanging between life and death. She 
is in a delirious condition all the time and must be 
watched day and night. I want you to watch the first 
half of the night with Nelse, and Eve and Mary will 
watch the last half." 

"Of course, I'll do anything in the world I can for 
my Colonel's widder. He was the bravest man that 
ever led a regiment, and he was a father to us boys. I'll 
be there. But I won't set up with that nigger. He 
can go to bed." 

"Tom, it's a funny thing to me that as good a Christian 
as you are should hate a nigger so. He's a human being. 
It's not right." 

" He may be human, Preacher; I don't know. To tell 
you the truth, I have my doubts. Anyhow, I can't help 
it. God knows I hate the sight of 'em like I do a rattle- 
snake. That nigger Nelse, they say, is a good one. He 
was faithful to the Colonel, I know, but I couldn't bear 
him no more than any of the rest of 'em. I always 
hated a nigger since I was knee-high. My dad ly and 
my mammy hated 'em before me. Somehow, we always 
felt like they was crowdin' us to death on them big 
plantations, and the little ones, too. And then I had 
to leave my wife and baby and fight four years, all on 
account of their stinkin' hides, that never done nothin' 
for me except make it harder to live. Every time I'd 
go into battle and hear them Minie balls begin to sing 



A Light Shining in Darkness 29 

over us, it seemed to me I could see their black ape-faces 
grinnin' and makin' fun of poor whites. At night when 
they'd detail me to help the ambulance corps carry off 
the dead and wounded, there was a strange smell on 
the field that came from the blood and night damp and 
burnt powder. It always smelled like a nigger to me. 
It made me sick. Yes, Preacher, God forgive me, I 
hate 'em ! I can't help it any more than I can the 
colour of my skin or my hair." 

"I'll fix it with Nelse, then. You take the first part 
of the night till twelve o'clock. I'll go down with you 
from the church to-night," said the Preacher, as he 
shook Tom's hand and took his leave. 



CHAPTER III 
DEEPENING SHADOWS 

ON the second day after Mrs. Gaston was stricken 
a forlorn little boy sat in the kitchen watching 
Aunt Eve get supper. He saw her nod while 
she worked the dough for the biscuits. 

"Aunt Eve, I'm going to sit up to-night and every 
night with my Mamma, till she gets well. I can't sleep 
for hours and hours. I lie awake and cry when I hear 
her talking till I feel like I'll die. I must do something 
to help her." 

"Laws, honey, you'se too little. You can't keep 
'wake 'tall. You get so lonesome and skeered all by 
yerself." 

"I don't care. I've told Tom to wake me to-night 
if I'm asleep when he goes, and I'll sit up from twelve 
till two o'clock and then call you." 

"All right, Mammy's darlin' boy, but you git tired en 
can't stan' it." 

So that night at midnight he took his place by the 
bedside. His mother was sleeping, at first. He sat 
and gazed with aching heart at her still, white face. 
She stirred, opened her eyes, saw him, and imagined he 
was his father. 

"Dearie, I knew you would come," she murmured. 
" They told me you were dead ; but I knew better. What 
a long, long time you have been away. How brown the 
sun has tanned your face, but it's just as handsome. I 
think handsomer than ever. And how like you is little 
Charlie ! I knew you would be proud of him ! " 

30 



Deepening Shadows 31 

While she talked, her eyes had a glassy look, that 
seemed to take no note of anything in the room. 

The child listened for ten minutes, and then the horror 
of her strange voice and look and words overwhelmed 
him. He burst into tears and threw his arms around his 
mother's neck and sobbed. 

"Oh! Mamma, dear, it's me, Charlie, your little boy, 
who loves you so much. Please, don't talk that way. 
Please look at me like you used to. There ! Let me 
kiss your eyes till they are soft and sweet again ! " 

He covered her eyes with kisses. 

The mother seemed dazed for a moment, held him off 
at arms' length, and then burst into laughter. 

"Of course, you silly, I know you. You must run to 
bed now. Kiss me good-night." 

"But you are si~k, Mamma; I am sitting up with 
you." 

Again she ignored his presence. She was back in the 
old days with her love. She was kissing her hand to 
him as he left her for his day's work. Charlie looked 
at the clock. It was time to give her the soothing 
drops the doctor left. She took it, obedient as a child, 
and went on and on with interminable dreams of the 
past, now and then uttering strange things for a boy's 
ears. But so terrible was the anguish with which he 
watched her, the words made little impression on his 
mind. It seemed to him some one was strangling him 
to death, and a great stone was piled on his little 
prostrate body. 

When she grew quiet, at last, and dozed, how still the 
house seemed ! How loud the tick of the clock ! How 
slowly the hands moved ! He had never noticed this 
before. He watched the hands for five minutes. It 
seemed each minute was an hour, and five minutes were 
as long as a day. What strange noises in the house ! 



32 The Leopard's Spots 

Suppose a ghost should walk into the room ! Well, he 
wouldn't run and leave his Mamma; he made up his 
mind to that. 

Some nights there were other sounds more ominous. 
The town was crowded with strange negroes, who were 
hanging around the camp of the garrison. One night a 
drunken gang came shouting and screaming up the alley 
close beside the house, firing pistols and muskets. 
They stopped at the house, and one of them yelled, 

"Burn the rebel's house down. It's our turn now!" 

The terrified boy rushed to the kitchen and called 
Nelse. In a minute Nelse was on the scene. There 
was no more trouble that night. 

"De lazy black debbels," said Nelse, as he mopped 
the perspiration from his brow, "I'll teach 'em what 
freedom is." 

The next day when the Reverend John Durham had 
an interview with the Commandant of the troops, he 
succeeded in getting a consignment of corn for seed, and 
to meet the threat of starvation among some families 
whose condition he reported. This important matter 
settled, he said to the officer: 

"Captain, we must look to you for protection. The 
town is swarming with vagrant negroes, bent on mis- 
chief. There are camp followers with you organising 
them into some sort of Union League meetings, dealing 
out arms and ammunition to them, and, what is worse, 
inflaming the worst passions against their former 
masters, teaching them insolence and training them 
for crime." 

"I'll do the best I can for you, Doctor, but I can't 
control the camp followers who are organising the 
Union League. They live a charmed life." 

That night, as the Preacher walked home from a visit 
to a destitute family, he encountered a burly negro on 



Deepening Shadows 33 

the sidewalk, dressed in an old suit of Federal uniform, 
evidently under the influence of whisky. He wore 
a belt around his waist, in which he had thrust con- 
spicuously an old horse pistol. 

Standing squarely across the pathway, he said to 
the Preacher, 

"Git outer de road, white man; you'se er rebel, I'se 
er Loyal Union Leaguer ! ' ' 

It was his first experience with Negro insolence since 
the emancipation of his slaves. Quick as a flash, his 
right arm was raised. But he took a second thought, 
stepped aside, and allowed the drunken fool to pass. 
He went home wondering in a hazy sort of way through 
his excited passions what the end of it all would be. 
Gradually in his mind for days this towering figure of 
the freed Negro had been growing more and more 
ominous, until its menace overshadowed the poverty, 
the hunger, the sorrow and the devastation of the South, 
throwing the blight of its shadow over future generations, 
a veritable Black Death for the land and its people. 



CHAPTER IV 
MR. LINCOLN'S DREAM 

EVERY morning before the Preacher could finish 
his breakfast, callers were knocking at the door 
— the negro, the poor white, the widow, the 
orphan, the wounded, the hungry: an endless procession. 

The spirit of the returned soldiers was all that he 
could ask. There was nowhere a slumbering spark of 
war. There was not the slightest effort to continue the 
lawless habits of four years of strife. Everywhere the 
spirit of patience, self-restraint and hope marked the 
life of the men who had made the most terrible soldiery. 
They were glad to be done with war and have the 
opportunity to rebuild their broken fortunes. They 
were glad, too, that the everlasting question of a divided 
Union was settled and settled forever. There was now 
to be one country and one flag, and deep down in their 
souls they were content with it. 

The spectacle of this terrible army of the Confederacy, 
the memory of whose battle-cry yet thrills the world, 
transformed in a month into patient and hopeful 
workmen, has never been paralleled in history. 

Who destroyed this scene of peaceful rehabilitation ? 
Hell has no pit dark enough, and no damnation deep 
enough, for these conspirators when once history has 
fixed their guilt. 

The task before the people of the South was one to 
tax the genius of the Anglo-Saxon race as never in its 
history, even had every friendly aid possible been 
extended by the victorious North. Four million 

34 



Mr. Lincoln's Dream 3$ 

negroes had suddenly been freed, and the foundations of 
economic order destroyed. Five billions of dollars' worth 
of property were wiped out of existence, banks closed, 
every dollar of money worthless paper, the country 
plundered by victorious armies, its cities, mills and 
homes burned, and the flower of its manhood buried in 
nameless trenches, or worse still, flung upon the charity 
of poverty, maimed wrecks. The task of organising this 
wrecked society and marshalling into efficient citizenship 
this host of ignorant negroes, and yet to preserve the 
civilisation of the Anglo-Saxon race, the priceless 
heritage 0. two thousand years of struggle, was one to 
appal the wisdom of ages. Honestly and earnestly the 
white people of the South set about this work, and 
accepted the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution 
abolishing slavery without a protesting vote. 

The President issued his proclamation announcing 
the method of restoring the Union as it had been handed 
to him from the martyred Lincoln, and indorsed 
unanimously by Lincoln's Cabinet. This plan was 
simple, broad and statesmanlike, and its spirit breathed 
Fraternity and Union with malice toward none and 
charity toward all. It declared what Lincoln had 
always taught, that the Union was indestructible, that 
the rebellious states had now only to repudiate Secession, 
abolish slavery, and resume their positions in the 
Union, to preserve which so many lives had been 
sacrificed. 

The people of North Carolina accepted this plan in 
good faith. They elected a Legislature composed of 
the noblest men of the state, and chose an old Union 
man, Andrew Macon, Governor. Against Macon was 
pitted the man who was now the president and organiser 
of a federation of secret oath-bound societies, of which 
the Union League, destined to play s<? tragic a part in 



36 The Leopard's Spots 

the drama about to follow, was the type. This man, 
Amos Hogg, was a writer of brilliant and forceful style. 
Before the war, a virulent Secessionist leader, he had 
justified and upheld slavery, and had written a volume 
of poems dedicated to John C. Calhoun. He had led 
the movement for Secession in the Convention which 
passed the ordinance. But when he saw his ship was 
sinking, he turned his back upon the "errors" of the 
past, professed the most loyal Union sentiments, wormed 
himself into the confidence of the Federal Government, 
and actually succeeded in securing the position of 
Provisional Governor of the state ! He loudly professed 
his loyalty, and with fury and malice demanded that 
Vance, the great war Governor, his predecessor, who, 
as a Union man had opposed Secession, should now be 
hanged, and with him his own former associates in the 
Secession Convention, whom he had misled with his 
brilliant pen. 

But the people had a long memory. They saw 
through this hollow pretense, grieved for their great 
leader, who was now locked in a prison cell in 
Washington and voted for Andrew Macon. 

In the bitterness of defeat, Amos Hogg sharpened 
his wits and his pen and began his schemes of revengeful 
ambition. 

The fires of passion burned now in the hearts of hosts 
of cowards, North and South, who had not met their 
foe in battle. Their day had come. The times were 
ripe for the Apostles of Revenge and their breed of 
statesmen. 

The Preacher threw the full weight of his character 
and influence to defeat Hogg, and he succeeded in 
carrying the county for Macon by an overwhelming 
majority. At the election only the men who had voted 
under the old regime were allowed to vote. The 



Mr. Lincoln's Dream 37 

Preacher had not appeared on the hustings as a speaker, 
but as an organiser and leader of opinion he was easily 
the most powerful man in the county, and one of the 
most powerful in the state. 



CHAPTER V 
THE OLD AND THE NEW CHURCH 

IN the village of Hambright the church was the 
center of gravity of the life of the people. 
There were but two churches, the Baptist 
and the Methodist. The Episcopalians had a build- 
ing, but it was built by the generosity of one of 
their dead members. There were four Presbyterian 
families in town, and they were working desperately 
to build a church. The Baptists had really taken the 
county, and the Methodists were their only rivals. 
The Baptists had fifteen nourishing churches in the 
county, the Methodists six. There were no others. 

The meetings at the Baptist church in the village of 
Hambright were the most important gatherings in the 
county. On Sunday mornings everybody who could 
walk, young and old, saint and sinner, went to church, 
and by far the larger number to the Baptist church. 

You could tell by the stroke of the bell that the 
two were rivals. The sextons acquired a peculiar skill 
in ringing these bells with a snap and a jerk that smashed 
the clapper against the side in a stroke that spoke 
defiance to all rival bells, warning of everlasting fire to 
all sinners that should stay away, and due notice to 
the saints that even an apostle might become a cast- 
away unless he made haste. 

The men occupied one side of the house, the women 
the other. Only very small boys accompanying their 
mothers were to be seen on the woman's side, together 

38 



The Old and the New Church 39 

with a few young men who fearlessly escorted thither 
their sweethearts. 

Before the services began, between the ringing of the 
first and second bells, the men gathered in groups in 
the churchyard and discussed grave questions of 
politics and weather. The services over, the men 
lingered in the yard to shake hands with neighbours, 
praise or criticise the sermon, and once more discuss 
great events. The boys gathered in quiet, wistful 
groups and watched the girls come slowly out of the 
other door, and now and then a daring youngster 
summoned courage to ask to see one of them home. 

The services were of the simplest kind. The singing 
of the old hymns of Zion, the reading of the Bible, the 
prayer, the collection, the sermon, the Benediction. 

The Preacher never touched on politics, no matter 
what the event under whose world import his people 
gathered. War was declared, and fought for four 
terrible years. Lee surrendered, the slaves were freed, 
and society was torn from the foundations of centuries, 
but you would never have known it from the lips of the 
Reverend John Durham in his pulpit. These things 
were but passing events. When he ascended the pulpit 
he was the Messenger of Eternity. He spoke of God, 
of truth, of righteousness, of judgment, the same 
yesterday, to-day and forever. 

Only in his prayers did he come closer to the inner 
thoughts and perplexities of the daily life of the people. 
He was a man of remarkable power in the pulpit. His 
mastery of the Bible was profound. He could speak 
pages of direct discourse in its very language. To him 
it was a divine alphabet, from whose letters he could 
compose the most impassioned message to the individual 
hearer before him. Its literature, its poetic fire, the epic 
sweep of the Old Testament record of life, were inwrought 



40 The Leopard's Spots 

into the very fiber of his soul. As a preacher he spoke 
with authority. He was narrow and dogmatic in his 
interpretation of the Bible, but his very narrowness and 
dogmatism were of his flesh and blood, elements of his 
power. He never stooped to controversy. He simply 
announced the truth. The wise received it. The 
fools rejected it and were damned. That was all there 
was to it. 

But it was in his public prayers that he was at his 
best. Here all the wealth of tenderness of a great soul 
was laid bare. In these prayers he had the subtle 
genius that could find the way direct into tne hearts of 
the people before him, realise as his own their sins and 
sorrows, their burdens and hopes and dreams and fears, 
and then, when he had made them his own, he could 
give them the wings of deathless words and carry them 
up to the heart of God. He prayed in a low, soft tone 
of voice; it was like an honest, earnest child pleading 
with his father. What a hush fell on the people when 
these prayers began ! With what breathless suspense 
every earnest soul followed him ! 

Before and during the >var the gallery of this church, 
which was built and reserved for the Negroes, was 
always crowded with dusky listeners that hung spell- 
bound on his words. Now there were only a few, perhaps 
a dozen, and they were growing fewer. Some new and 
mysterious power was at work among the Negroes, 
sowing the seeds of distrust and suspicion. He wondered 
what it could be. He had always loved to preach to 
these simple-hearted children of nature, and watch the 
flash of resistless emotion sweep their dark faces. He 
had baptised more than five hundred of them into the 
fellowship of the churches in the village and the county 
during the ten years of his ministry. 

He determined to find out the cause of this desertion 



The Old and the New Church 41 

of his church by the Negroes to whom he had ministered 
so many years. 

At the close of a Sunday morning's service, Nelse 
was slowly descending the gallery stairs, leading Charlie 
Gaston by the hand, after the church had been nearly 
emptied of the white people. The Preacher stopped 
him near the door. 

"How's your Mistress, Nelse?" 

"She's gettin' better all de time now, praise de Lawd. 
Eve she stay wid 'er dis mornin', while I fetch dis boy 
ter chu'ch. He des so sot on goin'." 

"Where are all the other folks who used to fill that 
gallery, Nelse?" 

"You doan' tell me you ain't heard about dem?" he 
answered with a grin. 

"Well, I haven't heard, and I want to hear." 

"De laws-a-massy, dey done got er church er dey 
own ! Dey has meetin' now in de schoolhouse dat 
Yankee 'oman built. De teachers tell 'em ef dey ain't 
good ernuf ter set wid de white folks in dere chu'ch, 
dey got ter hole up dey haids, and not 'low nobody ter 
push 'em up in er nigger gallery. So dey's got ole Uncle 
Josh Miller to preach fur 'em. He 'low he got er call, 
en he stan' up dar en holler fur 'em bout er hour ev'ry 
Sunday mawnin' en .night. En sech whoopin', en 
yellin', en bawlin' ! Yer can hear 'em er mile. Dey 
tries ter git me ter go. I tell 'em Marse John Durham's 
preachin's good ernuf fur me, gall'ry er no gall'ry. I 
tell 'em dat I spec er gall'ry nigher heaven den de lower 
flo' enyhow — en fuddermo', dat when I goes ter chu'ch 
I wants ter hear sumfin' mo' dan er ole fool nigger er 
bawlin'. I can holler myself. En dey 'low I gwine 
back on my colour. En den I tell 'em I spec I ain't so 
proud dat I can't lam fum white folks. En dey say 
dey gwine ter lay fur me yit." 



42 The Leopard's Spots 

"I'm sorry to hear this," said the Preacher thought- 
fully. 

" Yassir, hit's des lak I tell yer. I spec dey gone fur 
good. Niggers aint got no sense nohow. I des wish 
I own 'em erbout er week ! Dey gitten madder'n 
madder et me all de time 'case I stay at de ole place en 
wuk fer my po' sick Mistus. Dey sen' er kermittee 
ter see me mos' ev'ry day ter 'splain ter me Fse free. 
De las' time dey come I lam one on de haid wid er stick 
er wood erfo' dey leave me lone." 

"You must be careful, Nelse." 

" Yassir, I nebber hurt 'im. Des sorter crack his skull 
er little ter show 'im what I gwine do wid 'im nex* time 
dey come pesterin' me." 

"Have they been back to see you since?" 

"Dat dey ain't. But dey sont me word dey gwine 
git de Freeman's Buro atter me. En I sont 'em back 
word ter sen' Mr. Buro right on en I land 'im in de 
middle er a spell er sickness, des es sho' es de Lawd 
gimme strenk." 

"You can't resist the Freedman's Bureau, Nelse." 

"What dat Buro got ter do wid me, Marse John?" 

"They've got everything to do with you, my boy. 
They have absolute power over all questions between 
the Negro and the white man. They can prohibit you 
from working for a white person without their consent, 
and they can fix your wages and make your contracts." 

"Well, dey better lemme erlone, or dere'll be trouble 
in dis town, sho's my name's Nelse." 

"Don't you resist their officer. Come to me if you 
get into trouble with them," was the Preacher's parting 
injunction. 

Nelse made his way out, leading Charlie by the hand 
and bowing his giant form in a quaint, deferential way 
to the white people he knew. He seemed proud of his 



The Old and the New Church 43 

association in the church with the whites, and the posi- 
tion of inferiority assigned him in no sense disturbed 
his pride. He was muttering to himself as he walked 
slowly along looking down at the ground thoughtfully. 
There was infinite scorn and defiance in his voice. 

"Bu-ro! Bu-ro! Des let 'em fool wid me! I'll 
make 'em see de seben stars in de middle er de day!" 



CHAPTER VI 
THE PREACHER AND THE WOMAN OF BOSTON 

THE next day the Preacher had a call from Miss 
Susan Walker, of Boston, whose liberality had 
built the new negro schoolhouse and whose 
life and fortune was devoted to the education and 
elevation of the Negro race. She had been in the village 
often within the year, running up from Independence, 
where she was building and endowing a magnificent 
classical college for Negroes. He had often heard of 
her, but as she stopped with Negroes when on her visits 
he had never met her. He was especially interested in 
her after hearing incidentally that she was a member 
of a Baptist church in Boston. 

On entering the parlour the Preacher greeted his 
visitor with the deference the typical Southern man 
instinctively pays to woman. 

"I am pleased to meet you, Madam," he said with 
a graceful bow and kindly smile, as he led her to the 
most comfortable seat he could find. 

She looked him squarely in the face for a moment as 
though surprised, and smilingly replied: 

"I believe you Southern men are all alike — woman 
flatterers. You have a way of making every woman 
believe you think her a queen. It pleases me, I can't 
help confessing it, though I sometimes despise myself 
for it. But I am not going to give you an opportunity 
to feed my vanity this morning. I've come for a plain 
face to face talk with you on the one subject that fills 
my heart — my work among the Freedmen. You are a 

41 



The Preacher and the Woman of Boston 45 

Baptist minister. I have a right to your friendship 
and cooperation." 

A cloud overshadowed the Preacher's face as he 
seated himself. He said nothing for a moment, looking 
curiously and thoughtfully at his visitor. 

He seemed to be studying her character and to be 
puzzled by the problem. She was a woman of prepos- 
sessing appearance, well past thirty-five, with streaks 
of gray appearing in her smoothly brushed back hair. 
She was dressed plainly in rich brown material cut in 
tailor fashion, and her heavy hair was drawn straight up 
pompadour style from her forehead with apparent care- 
lessness and yet in a way that heightened the impression 
of strength and beauty in her face. Her nose was the 
one feature that gave warning of trouble in an encounter. 
She was plump in figure, almost stout, and her nose 
seemed too small for the breadth of her face. It was 
broad enough, but too short, and was pug-tipped slightly 
at the end. She fell just a little short of being handsome 
and this nose was responsible for the failure. It gave 
to her face when agitated, in spite of evident culture 
and refinement, the expression of a feminine bulldog. 

Her eyes were flashing now, and her nostrils opened 
a little wider and began to push the tip of her nose 
upward. At last she snapped out suddenly: 

"Well, which is it, friend or foe? What do you 
honestly think of my work?" 

"Pardon me, Miss Walker, I am not accustomed to 
speak rudely to a lady. If I am honest, I don't know 
where to begin." 

"Bah! Lay aside your Don Quixote Southern 
chivalry this morning and talk to me in plain English. 
It doesn't matter whether I am a woman or a man. I 
am an idea, a divine mission this morning. I mean to 
establish a high school in this village for the Negroes, 



46 The Leopard's Spots 

and to build a Baptist church for them. I learn from 
them that they have great faith in you. Many of them 
desire your approval and cooperation. Will you help 
me?" 

"To be perfectly frank, I will not. You ask me for 
plain English. I will give it to you. Your presence 
in this village as a missionary to the heathen is an insuit 
to our intelligence and Christian manhood. You come 
at this late day a missionary among the heathen, the 
heathen whose heart and brain created this Republic 
with civil and religious liberty for its foundations, a 
missionary among the heathen who gave the world 
Washington, whose giant personality three times saved 
the cause of American Liberty from ruin when his army 
had melted away. You are a missionary among the 
children of Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, Madison, 
Jackson, Clay and Calhoun ! Madam, I have baptised 
into the fellowship of the church of Christ in this county 
more negroes than you ever saw in all your life before 
you left Boston. 

"At the close of the war there were thousands of 
Negro members of white Baptist churches in the state. 
Your mission is not to proclaim the gospel of Jesus 
Christ. Your mission is to teach crack-brained theories 
of social and political equality to four millions of ignorant 
Negroes, some of whom are but fifty years removed 
from the savagery of African jungles. Your work is to 
separate and alienate the Negroes from their former 
masters, who only can be their real friends and 
guardians. Your work is to sow the dragon's teeth 
of an impossible social order that will bring forth 
its harvest of blood for our children." 

He paused a moment, and, suddenly facing her, 
continued: "I should like to help the cause you have at 
heart, and the most effective service I could render it 



The Preacher and the Woman of Boston 47 

now would be to box you up in a glass cage, such as are 
used for rattlesnakes, and ship you back to Boston." 
"Indeed! I suppose then it is still a crime in the 
South to teach the Negro ? " She asked this in little gasps 
of fury, her eyes flashing defiance and her two rows of 
white teeth uncovering by the rising of her pugnacious 
nose." 

"For you, yes. It is always a crime to teach a lie." 

"Thank you. Your frankness is all one could wish ! " 

"Pardon my apparent rudeness. You not only 

invited, you demanded it. While about it, let me make 

a clean breast of it. I do you personally the honour 

to acknowledge that you are honest and in dead earnest 

and that you mean well. You are simply a fanatic." 

"Allow me again to thank you for your candour!" 

"Don't mention it, Madam. You will be canonised 

in due time. In the meantime, let us understand one 

another. Our lives are now very far apart, though 

we read the same Bible, worship the same God and hold 

the same great faith. In the settlement of this Negro 

question you are an insolent interloper. You're worse ; 

you are a wilful, spoiled child of rich and powerful 

parents playing with matches in a powder-mill. I not 

only will not help you, I would, if I had the power, seize 

you and remove you to a place of safety. But I cannot 

oppose you. You are protected in your play by a 

million bayonets, and back of these bayonets are banked 

the fires of passion in the North ready to burst into 

flame in a moment. The only thing I can do is to ignore 

your existence. You understand my position." 

"Certainly, Doctor," she replied, good-naturedly. 

She had recovered from the rush of her anger now 

and was herself again. A curious smile played round 

her lips as she quietly added: 

"I must really thank you for your candour. You 



48 The Leopard's Spots 

have helped me immensely. I now understand the 
situation perfectly. I shall go forward cheerfully in my 
work and never bother my brain again about you, or 
your people, or your point of view. You have aroused 
all the fighting blood in me. I feel toned up and ready 
for a life struggle. I assure you I shall cherish no ill 
feeling toward you. I am only sorry to see a man of 
your powers so blinded by prejudice. I will simply 
ignore you." 

"Then, Madam, it is quite clear we agree upon 
establishing and maintaining a great mutual 
ignorance. Let us hope, paradoxical as it may seem, 
that it may be for the enlightenment of future genera- 
tions." 

She rose to go, smiling at his last speech. 

"Before we part, perhaps never to meet again, let me 
ask you one question," said the Preacher, still looking 
thoughtfully at her. 

"Certainly, as many as you like." 

"Why is it that you good people of the North are 
spending your millions here now to help only the 
Negroes, who feel least of all the sufferings of this war? 
The poor white people of the South are your own flesh 
and blood. These Scotch Covenanters are of the same 
Puritan stock, these German, Huguenot and English 
people are all your kinsmen, who stood at the stake 
with your fathers in the Old World. They are, many 
of them, homeless, without clothes, sick and hungry 
and broken-hearted. But one in ten of them ever 
owned a slave. They had to fight this war because 
your armies invaded their soil. But for their sorrows, 
sufferings and burdens you have no ear to hear and no 
heart to pity. This is a strange thing to me." 

"The white people of the South can take care of 
themselves. If they suffer, it is God's just punishment 



The Preacher and the Woman of Boston 49 

for their sins in owning slaves and fighting against the 
flag. Do I make myself clear?" she snapped. 

"Perfectly; I haven't another word to say." 

"My heart yearns for the poor, dear black people 
who have suffered so many years in slavery and have 
been denied the rights of human beings. I am not only 
going to establish schools and colleges for them here, 
but I am conducting an experiment of thrilling interest 
to me which will prove that their intellectual, moral 
and social capacity is equal to any white man's." 

"Is it so?" asked the Preacher. 

"Yes, I am collecting from every section of the South 
the most promising specimens of Negro boys and 
sending them to our great Northern Universities, where 
they will be educated among men who treat them as 
equals, and I expect from the boys reared in this atmos- 
phere men of transcendent genius, whose brilliant 
achievements in science, art and letters will forever 
silence the tongues of slander against their race. The 
most interesting of these students I have at Harvard 
now is young George Harris. His mother is Eliza 
Harris, the history of whose escape over the ice of the 
Ohio River fleeing from slavery thrilled the world. This 
boy is a genius, and if he lives he will shake this nation." 

"It may be, Miss Walker. There are more ways than 
one to shake a nation. And while as a citizen and 
public man I ignore your work, privately and personally 
I shall watch this experiment with profound interest." 

"I know it wilf succeed. I believe God made us of 
one blood," she said with enthusiasm. 

"Is it true, Madam, that you once endowed a home 
for homeless cats before you became interested in the 
black people ? " With a twinkle in his eye the Preacher 
softly asked this apparently irrelevant question. 

"Yes, sir, I did — I am proud of it. I love cats. 



50 The Leopard's Spots 

There are more than a thousand in the home now, and 
they are well cared for. Whose business is it?" 

" I meant no offense by the question. I love cats, too. 
But I wondered if you were collecting Negroes only now, 
or whether you were adding other specimens to your 
menagerie for experimental purposes." 

She bit her lips, and in spite of her efforts to restrain 
her anger, tears sprang to her eyes as she turned toward 
the Preacher, whose face now looked calmly down upon 
her with ill-concealed pride. 

"Oh, the insolence of you Southern people toward 
those who dare to differ with you about the Negro!" 
she cried with rage. 

"I confess it humbly as a Christian, it is true. My 
scorn for these maudlin ideas is so deep that words have 
no power to convey it. But come," said the Preacher, 
in the kindliest tone. "Enough of this. I am pained to 
see tears in your eyes. Pardon my thoughtlessness. 
Let us forget now for a little while that you are an idea, 
and remember only that you are a charming Boston 
woman of the household of our own faith. Let me call 
Mrs. Durham and have you know her and discuss with 
her the thousand and one things dear to all women's 
hearts." 

"No, I thank you! I feel a little sore and bruised, 
and social amenities can have no meaning for those 
whose souls are on fire with such antagonistic ideas as 
yours and mine. If Mrs. Durham can give me any 
sympathy in my work I'll be delighted to see her, 
otherwise I must go." 

The Preacher laughed aloud. 

"Then let me beg of you, never meet Mrs. Durham. 
If you do, the war will break out again. I don't wish 
to figure in a case of assault and battery. Mrs. Durham 
was the owner of fifty slaves. She represents the bluest 



The Preacher and the Woman of Boston 51 

of the blue blood of the slave-holding aristocracy of the 
South. She has never surrendered and she never will. 
Wars, surrenders, constitutional amendments and such 
little things make no impression on her mind whatever. 
If you think I am difficult, you had better not puzzle 
your brain over her. I am a mildly constructive man 
of progress. She is a Conservative." 

"Then we will say good-by," said Miss Walker, 
extending her small, plumn hand in friendly parting. 
"I accept your challenge which this interview implies. 
I will succeed if God lives/' and she set her lips with a 
snap that spoke volumes. 

"And I will watch you from afar with sorrow and 
fear and trembling," responded the Preacher. 



CHAPTER VII 
THE HEART OF A CHILD 

MRS. GASTON'S recovery from the brain fever 
which followed her prostration was slow and 
painful. For days she would be quite herself 
as she would sit up in bed and smile at the wistful face 
of the boy who sat tenderly gazing into her eyes, or with 
swift feet was running to do her slightest wish. 

Then days of relapse would follow, when the child's 
heart would ache and ache with a dumb sense of despair 
as he listened to her incoherent talk and heard her 
meaningless laughter. When at length he could endure 
it no longer, he would call Aunt Eve, run from the house 
as fast as his little legs could carry him, and in the 
woods lie down in the shadows and cry for hours. 

"I wonder if God is dead!" he said one day as he 
lay and gazed at the clouds sweeping past the openings 
in the green foliage above. 

"I pray every day and every night, but she don't get 
well. Why does He leave her like that, when she's 
' so good?" and then his voice choked into sobs, and he 
buried his face in the leaves. 

He was suddenly roused by the voice of Nelse, who 
stood looking down on his forlorn figure with tenderness. 

"What you doin' out in dese woods, honey, by 
yo'se'f?" 

"Nothin', Nelse." 

"I knows. You'se er crying 'bout yo' Ma." 

The boy nodded without looking up. 

52 



The Heart of a Child 53 

"Doan' do dat way, honey. You'se too little ter cry 
lak dat. Yer Ma's gittin' better ev'ry day; de doctor 
done tole me so." 

"Do you think so, Nelse?" There was an eagerness 
and yearning in the child's voice that would have 
moved the heart of a stone. 

'"Cose I does. She be strong en well in little while 
when cole wedder comes. Fros' '11 soon be here. I see 
whar er ole rabbit been er eatin' on my turnip tops. 
Dat's er sho' sign. I gwine make you er rabbit box 
ter-morrer ter ketch dat rabbit." 

"Will you, Nelse?" 

"Sho's you bawn. Now des lemme pick you er 
chune on dis banjer 'fo' I goes ter my wuk." 

Of all the music he had ever heard, the boy thought 
Nelse's banjo was the sweetest. He accompanied the 
music in a deep bass voice which he kept soft and 
soothing. The boy sat entranced. With wide-open 
eyes and half-parted lips he dreamed his mother was 
well, and then that he had grown to be a man — a great 
man, rich and powerful. Now he was the Governor of 
the state, living in the Governor's palace, and his 
mother was presiding at a banquet in his honour. He 
was bending proudly ever her and whispering to her 
that she was the most beautiful mother in the world. 
And he could hear her say with a smile, 

"You dear boy!" 

Suddenly the banjo stopped, and Nelse railed with 
mock severity, "Now, look at 'im er cryin' ergin, en me 
er pickin' de eens er my fingers off fur 'im !" 

"No, I ain't cryin'. I am just listenin' to the music. 
Nelse, you're the greatest banjo player in the world." 

"Na, honey, hit's de banjer. Dat's de Jo-bloin'est 
banjer ! En des ter t'ink — er Yankee gin 'er to me in 
de wah. Dat wuz de fus' Yankee I ebber seed hab 



54 The Leopard's Spots 

sense ernuf ter own er banjer. I kinder hate ter fight 
dem Yankees atter dat." 

''But, Nelse, if you were fighting with our men how 
did you get close to any Yankees?" 

"Lawd, child, we's allers slippin' out twixt de lines 
atter night, er carryin' on wid dem Yankees. We trade 
'em terbaccer fur coffee en sugar, en play cyards, en 
talk twell mos' day sometime. I slip out fust in er patch 
er woods twix' de lines en make my banjer talk. En 
den yere dey come ! De Yankees fum one way en our 
boys de yudder. I make out lak I doan' see 'em tall, des 
playin' ter myself. Den I make dat banjer moan en 
cry en talk about de folks way down in Dixie. De boys 
creep up closer en closer twell dey right at my elbow en 
I see 'em cryin', some un 'em — den I 'gin 'er a juk ! en 
way she go pluckety plunck ! en dey 'gin ter dance and 
laugh ! Sometimes dey cuss me lak dey mad en lam me 
on de back. When dey hit me hard den I know dey 
ready ter gimme all dey got." 

"But how did you get this banjo, Nelse?" 

"Yankee gin 'er ter me one night ter try 'er, en when 
he hear me des fairly pull de insides outen 'er he 'low 
dat hit 'd be er sin ter ebber sep'rate us. Say he nebber 
know what 'uz in er banjer." 

Nelse rose to go. 

"Now, honey, doan' you cry no mo', en I make you 
dat rabbit box sho', en erlong 'bout Chris'mas I gwine 
larn you how ter shoot." 

"Will you let me hold the gun?" the boy eagerly 
asked. 

"I des sho' you how ter poke yo' gun in de cracker 
de fence en whisper ter de trigger. Den look out, birds 
en rabbits ! " 

The boy's face was one great smile. 

It was late in September before his mother was strong 



The Heart of a Child 55 

enough to venture out of the house — six terrible months 
from the day s-he was stricken. What an age it seemed 
to a sensitive boy's soul. To him the days were weeks, 
the weeks months, the months long, weary years. It 
seemed to him he had lived a lifetime, died, and was 
born again the day he saw her first walking on 
the soft grass that grew under the big trees at the 
back of the house. He was gently holding her by 
the hand. 

"Now, Mamma dear, sit here on this seat — you 
musn't get in the sun." 

"But, Charlie, I want to see the flowers on the front 
lawn." 

"No, no, Mamma; the sun is shinin' awful on that 
side of the house ! " 

A great fear caught the boy's heart. The lawn had 
grown up a mass of weeds and grass during the long, 
hot summer, and he was afraid his mother would cry 
when she saw the ruin of those flowers she loved so well. 

How impossible for his child's mind to foresee the 
gathering black hurricane of tragedy and ruin soon to 
burst over that lawn ! 

Skilfully and firmly he kept her on the seat in the 
rear, where she could not see the lawn. He said every- 
thing he could think of to please her. She would smile 
and kiss him in her old sweet way until his heart was 
full to bursting. 

"Do you remember, Mamma, how many times when 
you were so sick I used to slip up close and kiss your 
mouth and eyes?" 

" I often dreamed you were kissing me." 

"I thought you would know. I'll soon be a man. 
I'm going to be rich and build a great house, and you are 
going to live in it with me, and I am to take care of you 
as long as you live." 



56 The Leopard's Spots 

"I expect you will marry some pretty girl and 
almost forget your old Mamma, who will be getting 
gray." 

"But I'll never love anybody like I love you, Mamma 
dear!" 

His little arms slipped around her neck, held her close 
for a moment, and then he tenderly kissed her. 

After supper he sought Nelse. 

"Nelse, we must work out the flowers in the lawn. 
Mamma wants to see them. It was all I could do to 
keep her from going out there to-day." 

"Lawd, chile, hit '11 take two niggers er week ter clean 
out dat lawn. Hit's gone fur dis year. Yer Ma'll know 
dat, honey." 

The next morning after breakfast the boy found 
a hoe, and in the piercing sun began manfully to 
work at those flowers. He had worked perhaps 
a half-hour. His face was red with heat and wet 
with sweat. He was tired already and seemed to 
make no impression on the wilderness of weeds and 
grass. 

Suddenly he looked up and saw his mother smiling 
at him. 

"Come here, Charlie !" she called. 

He dropped his hoe and hurried to her side. She 
caught him in her arms and kissed the sweat drops from 
his eyes and mouth. 

"You are the sweetest boy in the world." 

What music to his soul these words to the last day of 
his life ! 

"I was afraid when you saw all these weeds you would 
cry about your flowers, Mamma." 

"It does hurt me, dear, to see them, but it's worth all 
their loss to see you out there in the broiling sun working 
so hard to please me. I've seen the most beautiful 



The Heart of a Child 57 

flower this morning that ever blossomed on my lawn — • 
and its perfume will make sweet my whole life. I am 
going to be brave and live for you now." 
And she kissed him fondly again. 



CHAPTER VIII 
AN EXPERIMENT IN MATRIMONY 

NELSE was informed by the Agent of the Freed- 
man's Bureau, when summoned before that 
tribunal, that he must pay a fee of one dollar 
for a marriage license and be married over again. 

"What's dat? Dis yer war bust up me en Eve's 
marryin'?" 

"Yes." said the Agent. "You must be legally 
married." 

Nelse chuckled on a brilliant scheme that flashed 
through his mind. 

"Den I see you ergin 'bout dat," he said, as he hastily 
took his leave. 

He made his way homeward, revolving his brilliant 
scheme. "But won't I fetch dat nigger Eve down 
er peg er two ! I gwine ter make her t'ink I won' marry 
her nohow. I make 'er ax my pardon fur all dem little 
disergreements. She got ter talk mighty putty now sho' 
'nuf." And he smiled over his coming triumph. 

It was four o'clock in the afternoon when he reached 
his cabin door on the lot back of Mrs. Gaston's home. 
Eve was busy mending some clothes for their little boy, 
now nearly five years old. 

"Good-evenin', Miss Eve!" 

Eve looked up at him with a sudden flash of her eye. 

"What de matter wid you, nigger?" 

"NutthV 'tall. Des drapped in lak ter pass de time 

58 



An Experiment in Matrimony 59 

er day, en ax how's you en yer son standin' dis hot 
wedder." Nelse bowed and smiled. 

"What ail you, you big black baboon?" 

"Nuttin' 'tall, Ma'am; des callin' roun' ter see my 
f rien's." Still smiling, Nelse walked in and sat down. 

Eve put down her sewing, stood up before him, her 
arms akimbo, and gazed at him steadily till the whites 
of her eyes began to shine like two moons. 

"You wants me ter whale you ober de head wid dat 
poker?" 

"Not dis evenin', Ma'am." 

"Den what ail you?" 

" De Buro des inform me dat es I'se er han'some young 
man en you'se er gittin' kinder ole en fat, dat we ain't 
married nohow. En dey gimme er paper fur er dollar 
dat allow me ter marry de young lady er my choice. 
Dat sho' is er great Buro!" 

"We ain't married?" 

"Nob-um." 

"After we stan' up dar befo' Marse John Durham en 
say des what all dem white folks say ? " 

"Nob-um." 

Eve slowly took her seat and gazed down the road 
thoughtfully. 

" I t'ink I drap eroun' ter see you en gin you er chance 
wid de odder gals 'fo' I steps off," explained Nelse, with 
a grin. 

No answer. 

"You 'member dat night I say sumfin' 'bout er gal I 
know once, en you riz en grab er poun' er wool out en my 
head 'fo' I kin move?" 

No answer yet. 

"Min* dat time you bust de biscuit bode ober my 
head, en lam me wid de fire-shovel, en hit me in de burr 
er de year wid er flatiron es I wuz makin' fur de do' ?" 



60 The Leopard's Spots 

"Yas, I min's dat sho'!" said Eve with evident 
satisfaction. 

"Doan' you wish you nebber done dat?" 

"You black debbil!" 

"Dat's hit! I'se er bad nigger, Ma'am — bad nigger 
'fo' de war. En I'se gittin' wuss en wuss," Nelse 
chuckled. 

She looked at him with gathering rage and contempt. 

"En den fudder mo', Ma'am, I doan' lak de way you 
talk ter me sometimes. Yo' voice des kinder takes de 
skin off same's er file. I laks ter hear er 'oman's voice 
lak my Missy's, des es sof es wool. Sometime one word 
from her keep me warm all winter. De way you talk 
sometimes make me cole in de summer time." 

Nelse rose while Eve sat motionless. 

"I des call, Ma'am, ter drap er little intment inter dem 
years er yourn dat '11 percerlate froo you min', en when 
I calls ergin I hopes ter be welcome wid smiles." 

Nelse bowed himself out the door in grandiloquent 
style. 

All the afternoon he was laughing to himself over 
his triumph, and imagining the welcome when he 
returned that evening with his marriage license and the 
officer to perform the ceremony. At supper in the 
kitchen he was polite and formal in his manners to Eve. 
She eyed him in a contemptuous sort of way and never 
spoke unless it was absolutely necessary. 

It was about half-past eight when Nelse arrived at 
home with the license duly issued and the officer of the 
Bureau ready to perform the ceremony. 

"Des wait er minute here at de corner, sah, 'twell I 
kinder breaks de news to 'em," said Nelse to the officer. 
He approached the cabin door and knocked. 

It was shut and fastened. He got no response. 

He knocked loudly again. 



An Experiment in Matrimony 61 

Eve thrust her head out the window. 

"Who's dat?" 

"Hit's me, Ma'am, Mister Nelson Gaston. I'se call 
ter see you." 

"Den you hump yo'se'f en git away from dat do', 
you rascal." 

" De Lawd, honey, I'se des been er foolin' you ter-day. 
I'se got dem license en de Buro man right out dar now 
ready ter marry us. You know yo' ole man nebber 
gwine back on you — I des been er foolin'." 

"Den you been er foolin' wid de wrong nigger." 

"Lawd, honey, doan' keep de bridegroom er waitin'." 

"Git erway from dat do' !" 

"G'long, chile, en quit yer projeckin'." Nelse was 
using his softest and most persuasive tones now. 

"G'way from dat do'!" 

"Come on, Eve; de man waitin' out dar fur us!" 

"Git away, I tells you, er I scald you wid er kittle 
er hot water." 

Nelse drew back slightly from the door. 

"But, honey, whar yo' ole man gwine ter sleep?" 

"Dey's straw in de barn, en pine shatters in de dog- 
house!" she shouted, slamming the window. 

"Eve, honey! " 

"Doan' you come honeyin' me; I'se er spec'able 
'oman, I is. Ef you wants ter marry me you got ter 
come cotin' me in de daytime fust, en bring me candy, 
en ribbins, en flowers and sich, en you got ter talk 
purtier'n you ebber talk in all yo' born days. Lots er 
likely lookin' niggers come settin' up ter me while you 
gone in dat wah, en I keep studin' 'bout you, you big 
black rascal. Now you got ter hump yo'se'f ef you 
eber see de inside er dis cabin ergin." 

Crestfallen, Nelse returned to the officer. 

"Wall, sah, dey's er kinder hitch in de perceedin's." 



62 The Leopard's Spots 

" What's the matter?" 

"She 'low I got ter come cotin' her fust. En I 'spec' 
I is." 

The officer laughed and returned to his home. She 
made Nelse sleep in the barn for three weeks, court her 
an hour every day, and bring her five cents' worth of red 
stick candy and a bouquet of flowers as a peace offering 
at every visit. Finally she made him write her a note 
and ask her to take a ride with him. Nelse got Charlie 
to write it for him, and made his own boy carry it to 
his mother. After three weeks of humility and attention 
to her wishes she gave her consent and they were duly 
married again. 



CHAPTER IX 
A MASTER OF MEN 

THE first Monday in October was court day in 
Hambright, and from every nook and corner 
of Campbell County the people flocked to town. 
The court-house had not yet been transformed into the 
farce-tragedy hall where jailbirds and drunken loafers 
were soon to sit on judge's bench and in attorney's chair 
instead of standing in the prisoner's dock. The merciful 
stay laws enacted by the Legislature had silenced the 
cry of the auctioneer until the people might have a 
moment to gird themselves for a new life struggle. 

But the black cloud was already seen on the horizon. 
The people were restless and discouraged by the wild 
rumours set afloat by the Freedman's Bureau, of coming 
confiscation, revolution and revenge. A greater crowd 
than usual had come to town on the first day. The 
streets were black with Negroes. 

A shout was heard from the crowd in the square as 
the stalwart figure of General Daniel Worth, the brigade 
commander of Colonel Gaston's regiment, was seen 
shaking hands with the men of his old army. 

The General was a man to command instant attention 
in any crowd. An expert in anthropology would have 
selected his face from among a thousand as the typical 
man of the Caucasian race. He was above the average 
height, a strong, muscular and well-rounded body, 
crowned by a heavy shock of what had once been raven- 



64 The Leopard's Spots 

black hair, now iron gray. His face was ruddy with the 
glow of perfect health, and his full round lips and the 
twinkle of his eye showed him to be a lover of the 
good things of life. He wore a heavy mustache, which 
seemed a fitting ballast for the lower part of his face 
against the heavy projecting straight eyebrows and 
bushy hair. 

As he shook hands with his old soldiers his face was 
wreathed in smiles, his eyes flashed with something like 
tears, and he had a pleasant word for all. 

Tom Camp was one of the first to spy the General and 
hobble to him as fast as his peg4eg would carry him. 

" Howdy, General, howdy do! Lordy, it's good for 
sore eyes ter see ye !" Tom held fast to his hand and, 
turning to the crowd, said: 

" Boys, here's the best General that ever led a brigade, 
and there wasn't a man in it that wouldn't 'a' died for 
him. Now three times three cheers !" And they gave 
them with a will. 

"Ah, Tom, you're still at your old tricks, " said the 
General. "What are you after now?" 

"A speech, General!" 

"A speech ! A speech !" the crowd echoed. 

The General slapped Tom on the back and said: 

"What sort of a job is this you're putting up on me ? 
I'm no orator. But I'll just say to you, boys, that this 
old peg-leg here was the finest soldier that I ever saw 
carry a musket, and the men who stood beside him 
were the most patient, the most obedient, the bravest 
men that ever charged a foe and crowned their General 
with glory, while he safely stood in the rear." 

Again a cheer broke forth. The General was hurrying 
toward the court-house, when he was suddenly sur- 
rounded by a crowd of Negroes. In the front ranks 
were a hundred of his old slaves who had worked on his 



A Master of Men 65 

Campbell County plantation. They seized his hands and 
laughed and cried and pleaded for recognition like a 
crowd of children. Most of them he knew. Some of 
their faces he had forgotten. 

"Hi dar, Marse Dan'l, you knows me! Lordy, Fse 
your boy Joe dat used ter ketch yo' hoss down at the 
plantation !" 

"Of course, Joe, of course." 

"I know Marse Dan'l ain't forget old Uncle Rube,'* 
said an aged Negro, pushing his way to the front. 

"That I haven't, Reuben; and how's Aunt Julia 
Ann?" 

" She des tollable, Marse Dan'l. We'se bof un us had 
de plumbago. How is you all sence de wah? " 

"Oh, first rate, Reuben. We manage somehow to 
get enough to eat, and if we do that nowadays we 
can't complain." 

"Dats de God's truf, Marster, sho' ! En now, Marse 
Dan'l, we all wants you ter make us er speech en 'splain 
erbout dis freedom ter us. Dey's so many dese yere 
Buroers en Leaguers 'round here tellin' us niggers 
what's er coming, twell we des doan' know nuttin' 
fur sho'." 

"Yassir, dat's hit! You tell us er speech, Marse 
Dan'l!" 

The white men crowded up nearer and joined in the 
cry. There was no escape. In a few moments the 
court-house was filled with a crowd. 

When he arose a cheer shook the building, and strange 
as it may seem to-day, it came with almost equal 
enthusiasm from white and black. 

14 1 thank you, my friends," said the General, "for this 
evidence of your confidence. I was a Whig in politics. 
I reckon I hated a Democrat as God hates sin. I was a 
Union man and fought Secession. My opponents won. 



66 The Leopard's Spots 

My State asked me to defend her soil. As an obedient 
son I gave my life in loyal service. 

"I need not tell you as a Union man that I am glad 
this war is over. I have always felt as a business 
man, a cotton manufacturer as well as farmer, in touch 
with the free labour of the North as well as the slave 
labour of the South, that free labour was the most 
economical and efficient. I believe that, terrible as the 
loss of four billions of dollars in slaves will be to the 
South, if the South is only let alone by the politicians 
and allowed to develop her resources she will become 
what God meant her to be, the garden of the world. I 
say it calmly and deliberately, I thank God that slavery 
is a thing of the past." 

A whirlwind of applause arose from the Negroes. 
Uncle Reuben's voice could be heard above the din. 

"Hear dat, you niggers! Dat's my ole Marster 
talkin' now!" < 

" Let me say to the Negroes here to-day, this war was 
not fought for your freedom by the North, and yet in 
its terrific struggle God saw fit to give you freedom. 
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are now yours 
and the birthright of your children. 

"We need your labour. Be honest, humble, patient, 
industrious, and every white man in the South will be 
your friend. What you need now is to go to work with 
all your might, build a roof over your head, get a few 
acres of land under your feet that is your own, put 
decent clothes on your back and some money in the 
bank, and you will become indispensable to the people 
of the South. They will be your best friends and 
give you every right and privilege you are prepared 
to receive. 

"The man who tells you that your old Master's land 
will be divided among you is a criminal, or a fool, or 



A Master of Men 67 

both. If you ever own land, you will earn it in the 
sweat of your brow, like I got mine." 

"Hear dat now, niggers!" cried old Reuben. 

"The man who tells you that you are going to be 
given the ballot indiscriminately with which you can 
rule your old masters is a criminal, or a fool, or both. It 
is insanity to talk about the enfranchisement of a million 
slaves who cannot read their ballots. Mr. Lincoln, 
who set you free, was opposed to any such measure. 

"Let me read an extract from a letter Mr. Lincoln 
wrote me just before the war." 

The General drew from his pocket a letter in the hand- 
writing of the President and read : 

"My Dear Worth: You must hold the Union men 
of the South together at all hazards. The one passion 
of my soul is to save the Union. In answer to the 
question you ask me about the equality of the races, I 
enclose you a newspaper clipping reporting my reply to 
Judge Douglas at Charleston, September 18, 1858. I 
could not express myself more plainly. Have this 
extract published in every paper in the South you can 
get to print it." 

The General paused and, turning toward the Negroes, 
said: 

"Now listen carefully to every word. Says Mr. 
Lincoln : 

" ' / am not nor ever have been in favour of bringing 
about in any way the social and political equality of the 
white and black races ! (here is marked applause from a 
Northern audience.) / am not nor ever have been in 
favour of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of 
qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with 
white people, I will say in addition to this that there 



6S The Leopard's Spots 

is a physical difference between the white and black races 
which I believe will forever forbid the two races living 
together on terms of social and political equality: and 
inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain 
togetlier there must be ilte position of the inferior and 
superior, and I am, as much as any other man, in favour 
of having the superior position assigned to the white race. ' 

"This was Lincoln's position and is the position of 
nine-tenths of the voters of his party. It is insanity to 
believe that the Anglo-Saxon race at the North can ever 
be so blinded by passion that they can assume any 
other position. 

"Slavery is dead for all time. It would have been 
destroyed whatever the end of the war. I know some 
of the secrets of the diplomatic history of the Con- 
federacy. General Lee asked the Government at Rich- 
mond to enlist 200,000 Negroes to defend the South, 
which he declared was their country as well as ours, 
and grant them freedom on enlistment. General Lee's 
request was ultimately accepted as the policy of the 
Confederacy, though too late to save its waning fortunes. 
Not only this, but the Confederate Government sent a 
special ambassador to England and France and offered 
them the pledge of the South to emancipate every slave 
in return for the recognition of the independence of the 
Confederacy. But when the ambassador arrived in 
Europe the lines of our army had been so broken that 
governments were afraid to interfere. 

"The man who tells you that your old masters are 
your enemies and may try to reinslave you is a wilful 
and malicious liar." 

"Hear dat, folks!" yelled old Reuben, as he waved 
his arms grandly toward the crowd. 

"To the white people here to-day I say be of good 



A Master of Men 69 

cheer. Let politics alone for awhile and build up your 
ruined homes. You have boundless wealth in your soil. 
God will not forget to send the rain and the dew and the 
sun. You showed yourselves on a hundred fields ready 
to die for your country. Now I ask you to do something 
braver and harder. Live for her when it is hard to 
live. Let cowards run, but let the brave stand shoulder 
to shoulder and build up the waste places till our 
country is once more clothed in wealth and beauty." 

The General in closing bowed to a round of applause. 
His soldiers were delighted with his speech and his 
old slaves revelled in it with personal pride. But the 
rank and file of the Negroes were puzzled. He did not 
preach the kind of doctrine they wished to hear. They 
had hoped freedom meant eternal rest, not work. They 
had dreamed of a life of ease, with government rations 
three times a day and old army clothes to last till they 
put on the white robes above and struck their golden 
harps in paradise. This message the General brought 
was painful to their newly awakened imaginations. 

As the General passed through the crowd he met the 
Ex-Provisional Governor, Amos Hogg, busy with the 
organising work of his Leagues. 

"Glad to see you, General," said Hogg, extending his 
hand with a smile. 

"Well, how are you, Amos, since Macon pulled your 
wool?" 

"Never felt better in my life, General. I want a few 
minutes' talk with you." 

"All right, what is it?" 

"General, you're a progressive man. Come, you're 
flirting with the enemy. The truly loyal men must get 
together to rescue the state from the rebels who have it 
again under their heel." 

"So Macon's a rebel because he licked you?" 



?o The Leopard's Spots 

"You know the rebel crowd are running this state," 
said Hogg. 

"Why, Hogg, you were the biggest fool Secessionist I 
ever saw, and Macon and I were staunch Union men. 
We had to fight you tooth and nail. You talk about 
the truly loyal!" 

"Yes, but, General, I've repented. I've got my 
face turned toward the light." 

"Yes, I see — the light that shines in the Governor's 
Mansion." 

"I don't deny it. 'Great men choose greater sins, 
ambition's mine.' Come into this Union movement 
with me, Worth, and I'll make you the next Governor." 

"I'll see you in hell first. No, Amos, we don't belong 
to the same breed. You were a Secessionist as long as 
it paid. When the people you had misled were being 
overwhelmed with ruin, and it no longer paid, you 
deserted and became 'loyal' to get an office. Now 
you're organising the Negroes, deserters and criminals 
into your secret oath-bound societies. Union men when 
the war came fought on one side or the other because 
a Union man was a man, not a coward. If he felt his 
state claimed his first love, he fought for his native 
soil. The gang of plugs you are getting together now 
as 'truly loyal' are simply cowards, deserters and 
common criminals who claim they were persecuted as 
Union men. It's a weak lie." 

"We'll win," urged Hogg. 

" Never ! " the General snorted, and angrily turned on 
his heel. Before leaving, he wheeled suddenly, faced 
Hogg and said: 

"Go on with your fool societies. You are sowing the 
wind. There'll be a lively harvest. I am organising, 
too. I'm organising a cotton mill, rebuilding our 
burned factory, borrowing money from the Yankees 



A Master of Men 71 

who licked us to buy machinery and give employment 
to thousands of our poor people. That's the way to 
save the state. We've got water-power enough to 
turn the wheels of the world." 

"You'll need our protection in the fight that's 
coming," replied Hogg, with a straight look that meant 1 
much. 

The General was silent a moment. Then he shook 
his fist in Hogg's face and slowly said: 

"Let me tell you something. When I need protec* 
tion I'll go to headquarters. I've got Yankee money 
in my mills and I can get more if I need it. You lay 
your dirty claws on them and I'll break your neck." 



CHAPTER X 
THE MAN OR BRUTE IN EMBRYO 

TWO months later General Worth, while busy 
rebuilding his mills at Independence, had 
served on him a summons to appear before the 
Agent of the Freedman 's Bureau at Hambright and 
answer the charge of using "abusive language" to a 
freedman. 

The particular freedman who desired to have his 
feelings soothed by law was a lazy young negro about 
sixteen years old whom the General had ordered whipped 
and sent from the stables into the fields on one occasion 
during the war while on a visit to his farm. Evidently 
the boy had a long memory. 

"Now, don't that beat the devil!" exclaimed the 
General. 

"What is it?" asked his foreman. 

"I've got to leave my work, ride on an old freight 
train thirty miles, pull through twenty more miles of red 
mud in a buggy to get to Hambright, and lose four days, 
to answer such a charge as that before some little wizen- 
eyed skunk of a Bureau Agent. My God, it's enough to 
make a Union man remember Secession with regrets!" 

"My stars, General, we can't get along without you 
now when we are getting this machinery in place. 
Send a lawyer," growled the foreman. 

"Can't do it, John — I'm charged with a crime." 

"Well, I'll swear!" 

"Do the best you can; I'll be back in four days, if 

72 



The Man or Brute in Embryo 73 

I don't kill a nigger," said the General, with a smile* 
"I've got a settlement to make with the farmhands, 
anyhow." 

There was no help for it. When the court convened, 
and the young Negro saw the face of his old master red 
with wrath, his heart failed him. He fled the town and 
there was no accusing witness. 

The General gazed at the Agent with cold contempt 
and never opened his mouth in answer to expressions 
of regret at the fiasco. 

A few moments later he rode up to the gate of his 
farmhouse on the river hills about a mile out of town. 
A strapping young fellow of fifteen hastened to open 
the gate. 

"Well, Allan, my boy, how are you?" 

"First rate, General. We're glad to see you. But 
we didn't make a half crop, sir; the niggers were always 
in town loafing around that Freedman's Bureau, holding 
meetings all night, and going to sleep in the fields." 

"Well, show me the books," said the General as they 
entered the house. 

The General examined the accounts with care and 
then looked at young Allan McLeod for a moment as 
though he had made a discovery. 

"Young man, you've done this work well." 

"I tried to, sir. If the niggers disputed anything, I 
fixed that by making the store-keepers charge each item 
in two books, one on your account and one on an 
account kept separate for every nigger." 

"Good enough. They'll get up early to get ahead of 
you." 

"I'm afraid they are going to make trouble at the 
Bureau, sir. That Agent's been here holding Union 
League meetings two or three nights every week, and 
he's got every nigger under his thumb." 



74 The Leopard's Spots 

"The dirty whelp !" growled the General. 

"If you can see me out of the trouble, General, I'd 
like to jump on him and beat the life out of him next 
time he comes out here." 

The General frowned. 

"Don't you touch him — any more than you would 
a polecat. I've trouble enough just now." 

"I could knock the mud out of him in two minutes, 
it you say the word," said Allan, eagerly. 

'Yes, I've no doubt of it." The General looked at 
him thoughtfully. 

He was a well-knit, powerful youth just turned his 
fifteenth birthday. He had red hair, a freckled face 
and florid complexion. His features were regular and 
pleasing, and his stalwart muscular figure gave him a 
handsome look that impressed one with indomitable 
physical energy. His lips were full and sensuous, his 
eyebrows straight, and his high forehead spoke of brain 
power as well as horse-power. 

He had a habit of licking his lips and running his 
tongue around inside of his cheeks when he saw anything 
or heard anything that pleased him that was far from 
intellectual in its suggestiveness. When he did this 
one could not help feeling that he was looking at a 
young, well-fed tiger e There was no doubt about his 
being alive and that he enjoyed it. His boisterous 
voice and ready laughter emphasised this impression. 

"Allan, my boy," said the General, when he had 
examined his accounts, "if you do everything in life 
as well as you did these books you'll make a success." 

"I'm going to do my best to succeed, General. I'll 
not be a poor white man. I'll promise you that." 

"Do you go to church anywhere?" 

"No, sir. Maw's not a member of any church, and 
it's so far to town I don't go." 



The Man or Brute in Embryo 75 

"Well, you must go. You must go to the Sunday- 
school, too, and get acquainted with all the young 
folks. I'll speak to Mrs. Durham and get her to look 
after you." 

"All right, sir; I'll start next Sunday." Allan was 

feeling just then in a good humour with himself and all 

the world. The compliment of his employer had so 

' elated him he felt fully prepared to enter the ministry 

if the General had only suggested it. 

The following day was appointed for a settlement of 
the annual contract with the Negroes. The Agent of 
the Freedman's Bureau was the judge before whom the 
General, his overseer and clerk of account and all 
the Negroes assembled. 

If the devil himself had devised an instrument for 
creating race antagonism and strife he could not have 
improved on this Bureau in its actual workings. Had 
clean-handed, competent agents been possible it might 
have accomplished good. These agents were as a rule 
the riff-rati and trash of the North. It was the supreme 
opportunity of army cooks, teamsters, fakirs and broken- 
down preachers who had turned insurance agents. 
They were lifted from penury to affluence and power. 
The possibilities for corruption and downright theft 
were practically limitless. 

The Agent at Hambright had been a preacher in 
Michigan who lost his church because of unsavoury 
rumours about his character. He had eked out a living 
as a book agent and then insurance agent. He was a 
man of some education and had a glib tongue, which 
the Negroes readily mistook for inspired eloquence. 
He assumed great dignity and an extraordinary judicial 
tone of voice when adjusting accounts. 

General Worth submitted his accounts and they 
showed that all but six of the fifty Negroes employed 



76 The Leopard's Spots 

had a little overdrawn their wages in provisions and 
clothing. 

"I think there is a mistake, General, in these 
accounts," said the Reverend Ezra Perkins, the 
Agent. 

"What?" thundered the General. 

"A mistake in your view of the contract, " answered 
Ezra, in his oiliest tone. 

The Negroes began to grin and nudge one another, 
^mid exclamations of "Dar, now!" "Hear dat!" 

"What do you mean? The contracts are plain. 
There can be but one interpretation. I agreed to 
furnish the men their supplies in advance and wait until 
the end of the year for adjustment after the crops were 
gathered. As it is, I will lose more than five hundred 
dollars on the farm." The General paused and looked 
at the Agent with rising wrath. 

"It's useless to talk. I decide that under this 
contract you are to furnish supplies yourself and pay 
your people their monthly wages besides. I have 
figured it out that you owe them a little more than 
fifteen hundred dollars." 

"Fifteen hundred dollars! You thief " 

"Softly! Softly! I'll commit you for contempt 
of court !" 

The General turned on his heel without a word, sprang 
on his horse, and in a few minutes alighted at the hotel. 
He encountered the Assistant Agent of the Bureau on 
the steps. 

"Did you wish to see me, General?" he asked. 

"No, I'm looking for a man — a Union soldier, 
not a turkey buzzard." He dashed up to the 
clerk's desk. 

"Is Major Grant in his room?" 

"Yes, sir." 



The Man or Brute in Embryo 77 

"Tell him I want to see him." 

"What can I do for you, General Worth?" asked the 
Major as he hastened to meet him. 

"Major Grant, I understand you are a lawyer. You 
are a man of principle, or you wouldn't have fought. 
When I meet a man that fought us I know I am talking 
to a man, not a skunk. This greasy, sanctified Bureau 
Agent has decided that I owe my hands fifteen hundred 
dollars. He knows it's a lie. But his power is absolute. 
I have no appeal to a court. He has all the Negroes 
under his thumb, and he is simply arranging to steal this 
money. I want to pay you a hundred dollars as a 
retainer and have you settle with the Lord's anointed, 
the Reverend Ezra Perkins, for me." 

"With pleasure, General. And it shall not cost you 
a cent." 

"I'll be glad to pay you, Major. Such a decision 
enforced against me now would mean absolute ruin. I 
can't borrow another cent." 

"Leave Ezra with me." 

"Why couldn't they put soldiers into this Bureau if 
they had to have it, instead of these skunks and wolves ? " 
snorted the General. 

"Well, some of them are a little off in the odour of 
their records at home, I'll admit," said the Major, with a 
dry smile. "But this is the day of the carrion crow, 
General. You know they always follow the armies. 
They attack the wounded as well as the dead. You 
have my heartfelt sympathy. You have dark days 
ahead. The death of Mr. Lincoln was the most awful 
calamity that could possibly have befallen the South. 
I'm sorry. I've learned to like you Southerners and 
to love these beautiful skies and fields of eternal green. 
It's my country and yours. I fought you to keep it as 
the heritage of my children." 



78 The Leopard's Spots 

The General's eyes filled with tears and the two men 
silently clasped each other's hands. 

" Send in your accounts by your clerk. I'll look them 
over to-night and I've no doubt the Honourable Reverend 
Ezra Perkins will see a new light with the rising of 
to-morrow's sun." 

And Ezra did see a new light. As the Major cursed 
him in all the moods and tenses he knew, Ezra thought 
he smelled brimstone in that light. 

" I assure you, Major, I'm sorry the thing happened. 
My assistant did all the work on these papers. I 
hadn't time to give them personal attention," the Agent 
apologised in his humblest voice. 

"You're a liar. Don't waste your breath." 

Ezra bit his lips and pulled his Mormon whiskers. 

"Write out your decision now— this minute — con- 
firming these accounts in double-quick order, unless you 
are looking for trouble." 

And Ezra hastened to do as he was bidden. 
• •••••• 

The next day, while the General was seated on the 
porch of the little hotel discussing his campaigns with 
Major Grant, Tom Camp sent for him. 

Tom took the General round behind his house with 
grave ceremony. 

"What are you up to, Tom?" 

"Show you in a minute. I wish I could make you a 
handsomer present, General, to show you how much I 
think of you. But I know yer weakness, anyhow. 
There's the finest lot er lightwood you ever seed." 

Tom turned back some old bagging and revealed a pile 
of fat pine chips covered with resin, evidently chipped 
carefully out of the boxed place of live pine trees. 

The General had two crotchets, lightwood and water- 
power. When he got hold of a fine lot of lightwood 



The Man or Brute in Embryo 79 

suitable for kindling fires he would fill his closet with it, 
conceal it tinder his bed, and sometimes under his 
mattress. He would even hide it in his bureau drawers 
and wardrobe and take it out in little bits like a 
miser. 

"Lord, Tom, that beats the world!" 

"Ain't it fine? Just smell!" 

"Resin on every piece ! Tom, you cut every tree on 
your place and every tree in two miles clean to get 
that. You couldn't have made me a gift I would 
appreciate more. Old boy, if there's ever a time in 
your life that you need a friend, you know where to 
find me." 

"I knowed ye'd like it," said Tom, with a smile. 

"Tom, you're a man after my own heart. You're 
feeling rich enough to make your General a present 
when we are all about to starve. You're a man of 
faith. So am I. I say keep a stiff upper lip and peg 
away. The sun still shines, the rains refresh, and water 
runs down hill yet. That's one thing Uncle Billy 
Sherman's army couldn't do much with when they put 
us to the test of fire: he couldn't burn up our water- 
power. Tom, you may not know it, but I do — we've 
got water-power enough to turn every wheel in the 
world. Wait till we get our harness on it and make it 
spin and weave our cotton — we'll feed and clothe the 
human race. Faith's my motto. I can hardly get 
enough to eat now, but better times are coming. A 
man's just as big as his faith. I've got faith in the 
South. I've got faith in the good-will of the people of 
the North. Slavery is dead. They can't feel anything 
but kindly toward an enemy that fought as bravely 
and lost all. We've got one country now and it's 
going to be a great one. 

"You're right, General; faith's the word*' 



80 The Leopard's Spots 

'Tom, you don't know how this gift from you 
touches me." 

The General pressed the old soldier's hand with 
feeling. He changed his orders from a buggy to a two- 
horse team that could carry all his precious lightwood. 
He filled the vehicle, and what was left he packed 
carefully in his valise. 

He stopped his team in front of the Baptist parsonage 
to see Mrs. Durham about Allan McLeod. 

"Delighted to see you, General Worth. It's refreshing 
to look into the faces of our great leaders, if they are 
still outlawed as rebels by the Washington government." 

"Ah, Madam, I need not say it is refreshing to see 
you, the rarest and most beautiful flower of the old 
South in the days of her wealth and pride ! And 
always the same ! " The General bowed over her hand. 

"Yes; I haven't surrendered yet." 

"And you never will," he laughed. 

"Why should I? They've done their worst. They 
have robbed me of all. I've only rags and ashes left." 

"Things might still be worse, Madam." 

"I can't see it. There is nothing but suffering and 
ruin before us. These ignorant negroes are now being 
taught by people who hate or misunderstand us. They 
can only be a scourge to society. I am heartsick when 
I try to think of the future ! " 

There was a mist about her eyes that betrayed 
the deep emotion with which she uttered the last 
sentence. 

She was a queenly woman of the brunette type, with 
full face of striking beauty surmounted by a mass of 
rich chestnut hair. The loss of her slaves and estate in 
the war had burned its message of bitterness into her 
soul. She had the ways of that imperious aristocracy 
of the South that only slavery could nourish. She was 



The Man or Brute in Embryo 81 

still uncompromising upon every issue that touched 
the life of the past. 

She believed in slavery as the only possible career for 
a negro in America. The war had left her cynical on 
the future of the new "Mulatto" nation, as she called 
it, born in its agony. Her only child had died during 
the war, and this great sorrow had not softened but 
rather hardened her nature. 

Her husband's career as a preacher was now a double 
cross to her because it meant the doom of eternal 
poverty. In spite of her love for her husband and her 
determination with all her opposite tastes to do her 
duty as his wife, she could not get used to poverty. 
She hated it in her soul with quiet intensity. 

The General was thinking of all this as he tried to 
frame a cheerful answer. Somehow he could not think 
of anything worth while to say to her. So he changed 
the subject. 

"Mrs. Durham, I've called to ask your interest in 
your Sunday-school in a boy who is a sort of ward of 
mine, young Allan McLeod." 

"That handsome red-headed fellow, that looks like 
a tiger, I've seen playing in the streets?" 

"Yes; I want you to tame him." 

"Well, I will try for your sake, though he's a little 
older than any boy in my class. He must be over 
fifteen." 

"Just fifteen. I'm deeply interested in him. I am 
going to give him a good education. His father was a 
drunken Scotchman in my brigade whose loyalty to 
me as his chief was so genuine and touching I couldn't 
help loving him. He was a man of fine intellect and 
some culture. His trouble was drink. He never could 
get up in life on that account. I have an idea that he 
married his wife while on one of his drunks. She is 



82 The Leopard's Spots 

from down in Robeson County, and he told me she was 
related to the outlaws who have infested that section 
for years. This boy looks like his mother, though he 
gets that red hair and those laughing eyes from his 
father. I want you to take hold of him and civilise 
him for me." 

"I'll try, General. You know I love boys." 

"You will find him rude and boisterous at first, but 
I think he's got something in him." 

"I'll send for him to come to see me Saturday." 

"Thank you, Madam. I must go. My love to 
Doctor Durham." 

The next Saturday, when Mrs. Durham walked into 
ktr little parlour to see Allan, the boy was scared 
nearly out of his wits. He sprang to his feet, stam- 
mered and blushed, and looked as though he were 
going to jump out of the window. 

Mrs. Durham looked at him with a smile that quite 
disarmed his fears, took his outstretched hand, and held 
it trembling in hers. 

"I know we will be good friends, won't we?" 

"Yessum," he stammered. 

"And you won't tie any more tin cans to dogs like 
you did to Charlie Gaston's little terrier, will you? I 
like boys full of life and spirit, just so they don't do 
mean and cruel things." 

The boy was ready to promise her anything. He 
was charmed with her beauty and gentle ways. He 
thought her the most beautiful woman he had ever 
seen in the world. 

As they started toward the door she gently slipped 
one arm around him, put her hand under his chin and 
kissed him. 

Then he was ready to die for her. It was the first 
kiss he had ever received from a woman's lips. His 



The Man or Brute in Embryo 83 

mother was not a demonstrative woman. He never 
recalled a kiss she had given him. His blood tingled 
with the delicious sense of this one's sweetness. All 
the afternoon he sat out under a tree and dreamed and 
watched the house where this wonderful- thing had 
happened to him. 



CHAPTER XI 
SIMON LEGREE 

IN the death of Mr. Lincoln a group of radical poli- 
ticians, hitherto suppressed, saw their supreme 
opportunity to obtain control of the nation in the 
crisis of an approaching Presidential campaign. 

Now they could fasten their schemes of proscription, 
confiscation and revenge upon the South. 

Mr. Lincoln had held these wolves at bay during his 
life by the power of his great personality. But the 
Lion was dead, and the Wolf, who had snarled and 
snapped at him in life, put on his skin and claimed the 
heritage of his power. The Wolf whispered his message 
of hate, and in the hour of partisan passion became 
the master of the nation. 

Busy feet had been hurrying back and forth from the 
Southern states to Washington whispering in the Wolf's 
ear the stories of sure success if only the plan of pro- 
scription, disfranchisement of whites and enfranchise- 
ment of blacks were carried out. 

This movement was inaugurated two years after the 
war, with every Southern state in profound peace and 
in a life and death struggle with nature to prevent 
famine. The new revolution destroyed the Union a 
second time, paralysed every industry in the South, 
and transformed ten peaceful states into roaring hells 
of anarchy. We have easily outlived the sorrows of 
the war. That was a surgery which healed the body. 
But the child has not yet been born whose children's 

8 4 



Simon Legree 85 

children will live to see the healing of the wounds from 
those four years of chaos, when fanatics, blinded by 
passion, armed millions of ignorant Negroes and thrust 
them into mortal combat with the proud, bleeding, 
half-starving Anglo-Saxon race of the South. Such a 
deed once done can never be undone. It fixes the 
status of these races for a thousand years, if not 
for eternity. 

The South was now rapidly gathering into two hostile 
armies under these influences, with race marks as 
uniforms — the Black against the White. 

The Negro army was under the command of a trium- 
virate — the Carpet-bagger from the North, the native 
Scalawag and the Negro Demagogue. 

Entirely distinct from either of these was the genuine 
Yankee soldier settler in the South after the war, who 
came because he loved its genial skies and kindly 
people. 

Ultimately some of these Northern settlers were 
forced into politics by conditions around them, and 
they constituted the only conscience and brains visible 
in public life during the reign of terror which the 
''Reconstruction" regime inaugurated. 

In the winter of 1866 the Union League at Hambright 
held a meeting of special importance. The attendance 
was large and enthusiastic. 

Amos Hogg, the defeated candidate for Governor in 
the last election, now the President of the Federation of 
"Loyal Leagues," had sent a special ambassador to 
this meeting to receive reports and give instructions. 

This ambassador was none other than the famous 
Simon Legree of Red River, who had migrated to North 
Carolina, attracted by the first proclamation of the 
President, announcing his plan for readmitting the 
state to the Union. The rumours of his death proved a 



86 The Leopard's Spots 

mistake. He had quit drink and set his mind on 
greater vices. 

In his face were the features of the distinguished 
ruffian whose cruelty to his slaves had made him unique 
in infamy in the annals of the South. He was now 
preeminently the type of the "truly loyal." At the 
first rumour of war he had sold his Negroes and migrated 
nearer the border land, that he might the better avoid 
service in either army. He succeeded in doing this. 
The last two years of the war, however, the enlisting 
officers pressed him hard, until finally he hit on a 
brilliant scheme. 

He shaved clean and dressed as a German emigrant 
woman. He wore dresses for two years, did house- 
work, milked the cows and cut wood for a good-natured 
old German. He paid for his board, and passed for a 
sister just from the old country. 

When the war closed he resumed male attire, became 
a violent Union man, and swore that he had been 
hounded and persecuted without mercy by the Seces- 
sionist rebels. 

He was looking more at ease now than ever in his 
life. He wore a silk hat and a new suit of clothes made 
by a fashionable tailor in Raleigh. He was a little 
older looking than when he killed Uncle Tom on his 
farm some ten years before, but otherwise unchanged. 
He had the same short, muscular body, round bullet 
head, light gray eyes and shaggy eyebrows; but his deep 
chestnut bristly hair had been trimmed by a barber. 
His coarse, thick lips drooped at the corners of his 
mouth and emphasised the crook in his nose. His 
eyes, well &et apart, as of old, were bold, commanding 
and flashed with the cold light of glittering steel. His 
teeth, that once were pointed like the fangs of a wolf, 
had been filed by a dentist. But it required more than 



Simon Legree 87 

the file of a dentist to smooth out of that face the 
ferocity and cruelty that years of dissolute habits 
had fixed. 

He was only forty-two years old, but the flabby flesh 
under his eyes and his enormous square-cut jaw made 
him look fully fifty. 

It was a spectacle for gods and men to see him 
harangue that Union League in the platitudes of loyalty 
to the Union, and to watch the crowd of Negroes hang 
breathless on his every word as the inspired Gospel of 
God. The only notable change in him from the old 
days was in his speech. He had hired a man to teach 
him grammar and pronunciation. He had high ambi- 
tions for the future. 

"Be of good cheer, beloved ! " he said to the Negroes. 
"A great day is coming for you. You are to rule this 
land. Your old masters are to dig in the fields and you 
are to sit under the shade and be gentlemen. Old Andy 
Johnson will be kicked out of the White House or hung, 
and the farms you've worked on so long will be divided 
among you. You can rent them to your old masters 
and live in ease the balance of your life." 

"Glory to God!" shouted an old Negro. 

"I have just been to Washington for our great leader, 
Amos Hogg. I've seen Mr. Sumner, Mr. Stevens and 
Mr. Butler. I have shown them that we can carry any 
state in the South if they will only give you the ballot 
and take it away from enough rebels. We have promised 
them the votes in the Presidential election, and they 
are going to give us what we want." 

"Hallelujah! Amen! Yas, Lawd!" The fervent 
exclamations came from every part of the room. 

After the meeting the Negroes pressed around Legree 
and shook his hand with eagerness — the same hand that 
was red with the blood of their race. 



88 The Leopard's Spots 

When the crowd had dispersed a meeting of the 
leaders was held. 

Dave Haley, the ex-slave trader from Kentucky, who 
had dodged back and forth from the mountains of his 
native state to the mountains of western North Carolina 
and kept out of the armies, was there. He had settled 
in Hambright, and hoped at least to get the post-office 
under the new dispensation. 

In the group was the full-blooded Negro, Tim Shelby. 
He had belonged to the Shelbys of Kentucky, but had 
escaped through Ohio into Canada before the war. He 
had returned home with great expectations of revolu- 
tions to follow in the wake of the victorious armies of 
the North. He had been disappointed in the pro- 
gramme of kindliness and mercy that immediately 
followed the fall of the Confeder;.:.", but he had been 
busy day and night since the war in organising the 
Negroes, in secretly furnishing them arms, and wherever 
possible he had them grouped in military posts and 
regularly drilled. He was elated at the brilliant pros- 
pects which Legree's report from Washington opened. 

u Glorious news you bring us, brother ! " he exclaimed, 
as he slapped Legree on the back. 

"Yes, and it's straight." 

"Did Mr. Stevens tell you so?" 

"He's the man that told me." 

"Well, you can tie to him. He's the master now 
that rules the country," said Tim, with enthusiasm. 

"You bet he's runnin' it. He showed me his bill to 
confiscate the property of the rebels and give it to the 
truly loyal and the niggers. It's a hummer. You 
ought to have seen the old man's eyes flash fire when he 
pulled that bill out of his desk and read it to me." 

"When will he pass it?" 

"Two years, yet. He told me the fools up North 



Simon Legree 89 

were not quite ready for it, and that he had two other 
bills first that would run the South crazy and so fire 
the North that he could pass anything he wanted and 
hang old Andy Johnson besides." 

"Praise God!" shouted Tim, as he threw his arms 
around Legree and hugged him. 

Tim kept his kinky hair cut close, and when excited 
he had a way of wrinkling his scalp so as to lift his 
ears up and down like a mule. His lips were big and 
thick, and he combed assiduously a tiny mustache 
which he tried in vain to pull out in straight Napoleonic 
style. 

He worked his scalp and ears vigorously as he 
exclaimed, "Tell us the whole plan, brother." 

"The plan's simple," said Legree. "Mr. Stevens is 
going to give the nigger the ballot and take it from 
enough white men to give the niggers a majority. Then 
he will kick old Andy Johnson out of the White House, 
put the gag on the Supreme Court so the South can't 
appeal, pass his bill to confiscate the property of the 
rebels and give it to loyal men and the niggers, and run 
the rebels out." 

"And the beauty of the plan is," said Tim, with 
unction, "that they are going to allow the Negro to vote 
to give himself the ballot and not allow the white man 
to vote against it. That's what I call a dead sure thing." 
Tim drew himself up, a sardonic grin revealing his white 
teeth from ear to ear, and burst into an impassioned 
harangue to the excited group. He was endowed with 
native eloquence, and had graduated from a college 
in Canada under the private tutorship of its professors. 
He was well versed in English history. He could 
hold an audience of Negroes spellbound, and his 
audacity commanded the attention of the boldest white 
man who heard him. 



90 The Leopard's Spots 

Legree, Perkins and Haley cheered his wild utterances 
and urged him to greater flights. 

He paused as though about to stop, when Legree, 
evidently surprised and delighted at his powers, said. 
"Go on! Go on!" 

"Yes, go on!" shouted Perkins. "We are done 
with race and colour lines." 

A dreamy look came to Tim's eyes as he continued: 

"Our proud white aristocrats of the South are in a 
panic, it seems. They feel the coming power of the 
Negro. They fear their Desdemonas may be fascinated 
again by an Othello ! Well, Othello's day has come 
at last. If he has dreamed dreams in the past, his 
tongue dared not speak; the day is fast coming when 
he will put these dreams into deeds, not words. 

"The South has not paid the penalties of her crimes. 
The work of the conqueror has not yet been done in 
this land. Our work now is to bring the proud low 
and exalt the lowly. This is the first duty of the 
conqueror. 

"The French Revolutionists established a tannery 
where they tanned the hides of dead aristocrats into 
leather with which they shod the common people. 
This was France in the eighteenth century with a 
thousand years of Christian culture. 

"When the English army conquered Scotland they 
hunted and killed every fugitive to a man, tore from 
the homes of their fallen foes their wives, stripped 
them naked, and made them follow the army, begging 
bread, the laughing stock and sport of every soldier 
and camp follower ! This was England in the meridian 
of Anglo-Saxon intellectual glory, the England of 
Shakspere who was writing Othello to please the war- 
like populace. 

"I say to my people now in the language of the 



Simon Legree 91 

inspired Word, 'All things are j'ours.' I have been 
drilling and teaching them through the Union League, 
the young and the old. I have told the old men that 
they will be just as useful as the young. If they can't 
carry a musket, they can apply the torch when the 
time comes. And they are ready now to answer the 
call of the Lord. ' 

Thev crowded around Tim and wrung his hand. 

m • • • • • 

Early in 867, two years after the war, Thaddeus 
Stevens passed through Congress his famous bill destroy- 
ing the governments of the Southern states and dividing 
them into military districts, enfranchising the whole 
Negro race and disfranchising one-fourth of the whites. 
The army was sent back to the South to enforce these 
decrees at the point of the bayonet. The authority 
of the Supreme Court was destroyed by a supplementary 
act and the South denied the right of appeal. Mr. 
Stevens then introduced his bill to confiscate the 
property of the white people of the South. The Negroes 
laid down their hoes and ploughs and began to gather 
in excited meetings. Crimes of violence increased 
daily. Not a night passed but that a burning barn or 
home wrote its message of anarchy on the black sky. 

The Negroes refused to sign any contracts to work, 
to pay rents, or vacate their houses on notice even 
from the Freedman's Bureau. 

The Negroes on General Worth's plantation not 
only refused to work, or move, but organised to prevent 
any white man from putting his foot on the land. 

General Worth procured a special order from the 
headquarters of the Freedman's Bureau for the district 
located at Independence. When the officer appeared 
and attempted to serve this notice the Negroes 
mobbed him. 



92 The Leopard's Spots 

A company of troops were ordered to Hambright, 
and the notice served again by the Bureau official 
accompanied by the captain of this company. 

The Negroes asked for time to hold a meeting and 
discuss the question. They held their meeting and 
gathered fully five hundred men from the neighbour- 
hood, all armed with revolvers or muskets. They asked 
Legree and Tim Shelby to tell them what they should 
do. There was no uncertain sound in what Legree 
said. He looked over the crowd of eager faces with 
pride and conscious power. 

"Gentlemen, your duty is plain. Hold your land. 
It's yours. You've worked it for a lifetime. These 
officers here tell you that old Andy Johnson has pardoned 
General Worth and that you have no rights on the land 
without his contract. I tell you old Andy Johnson has 
no right to pardon a rebel, and that he will be hung 
before another year. Thaddeus Stevens, Charles 
Sumner and B. F. Butler are running this country. 
Mr. Stevens has never failed yet on anything he has 
set his hand. He has promised to give you the land. 
Stick to it. Shake your fist in old Andy Johnson's 
face and the face of this Bureau and tell them so." 

"Dat we will!" shouted a Negro woman, as Tim 
Shelby rose to speak. 

"You have suffered," said Tim. "Now let the 
white man surfer. Times have changed. In the old 
days the white man said, 'John, come black my 
boots.' And the poor Negro had to black his boots. 
I expect to see the day when I will say to a white man, 
'Black my boots.' And the white man will tip his 
hat and hurry to do what I tell him." 

"Yes, Lawd ! Glory to God ! Hear dat, now !" 

"We will drive the white man out of this country. 
That is the purpose of our friends > t Washington. If 



Simon Legree 93 

white men want to live in the South they can become 
our servants. If they don't like their job they can 
move to a more congenial climate. You have Congress 
on your side, backed by a million bayonets. There 
is no President. The Supreme Court is chained. In 
San Domingo no white man is allowed to vote, hold 
office or hold a foot of land. We will make this mighty 
South a more glorious San Domingo." 

A frenzied shout rent the air. Tim and Legree 
were carried on the shoulders of stalwart men in 
triumphant procession, with five hundred crazy Negroes 
yelling and screaming at their heels. 

The officers made their escape in the confusion and 
beat a hasty retreat to town. They reported the 
situation to headquarters and asked for instructions. 



CHAPTER XII 
RED SNOWDROPS 

THE spirit of anarchy was in the tainted air. 
The bonds that held society were loosened. 
Government threatened to become organised 
crime instead of the organised virtue of the community. 

The report of crimes of unusual horror among 
the ignorant and the vicious began now to startle 
the world. 

The Reverend John Durham, on his rounds among the 
poor, discovered a little Negro boy whom the parents 
had abandoned to starve. His father had become a 
drunken loafer at Independence, and the Freedman's 
Bureau delivered the child to his mother and her sister, 
who lived in a cabin about two miles from Hambright, 
and ordered them to care for the boy. 

A few days later the child had disappeared. A 
search was instituted, and the charred bones were 
found in an old ash-heap in the woods near this cabin. 
The mother had knocked him in the head and burned 
the bony, in a drunken orgie with dissolute companions. 

The sense of impending disaster crushed the hearts 
of thoughtful and serious people. One of the last 
acts of Governor Macon, whose office was now under 
the control of the military commandant at Charleston, 
South Carolina, was to issue a proclamation appoint- 
ing a day of fasting and prayer to God for deliverance 
from the ruin that threatened the state under the 
dominion of Legree and the Negroes. 

94 



Red Snowdrops 95 

It was a memorable day in the history of the people. 
In many of the places they met in the churches the 
night before and held all-night watches and prayer 
meetings. They felt that a pestilence worse than the 
Black Death of the Middle Ages threatened to extin- 
guish civilisation. 

The Baptist church at Hambright was crowded 
to the doors with white-faced women and sorrowful 
men. 

About ten o'clock in the morning, pale and haggard 
from a sleepless night of prayer and thought, the 
Preacher arose to address the people. The hush of death 
fell as he gazed silently over the audience for a moment. 
How pale his face ! They had never seen him so moved 
with passions that stirred his inmost soul. His first 
words were addressed to God. He did not seem to see 
the people before him. 

"Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all 
generations. 

"Before the mountains were brought forth or ever 
thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from 
everlasting to everlasting, thou art God ! " 

The people instinctively bowed their heads, fired by 
the subtle quality of intense emotion the tones of his 
voice communicated, and many of the people were 
already in tears. 

"Thou turnest man to destruction: and sayest 
return, ye children of men. 

"Who knowest the power of thine anger? 

"Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee 
concerning thy servants. 

"Beloved," he continued, "it was permitted unto 
your fathers and brothers and children to die for their 
country. You must live for her in the black hour of 
despair. There will be no roar of guns, no long lines 



96 The Leopard's Spots 

of gleaming bayonets, no flash of pageantry or martial 
music to stir your souls. 

"You are called to go down, man by man, alone, 
naked and unarmed in the blackness of night, and 
fight with the powers of hell for your civilisation. 

"You must look this question squarely in the face. 
You are to be put to the supreme test. You are to 
stand at the judgment bar of the ages and make good 
your right to life. The attempt is to be deliberately 
made to blot out Anglo-Saxon society and substitute 
African barbarism. 

"A few year ago a Southern Representative in a 
stupid rage knocked Charles Sumner down with a cane 
and cracked his skull. Now it is this poor cracked brain, 
mad with hate and revenge, that is attempting to blot 
the Southern states from the map of the world and 
build Negro territories on their ruins. In the madness 
of party passions, for the first time in history, an 
anarchist, Thaddeus Stevens, has obtained the dicta- 
torship of a great Constitutional Government, hauled 
down its flag and nailed the Black Flag of Confiscation 
and Revenge to its masthead. 

"The excuse given for this, that the lawmakers of 
the South attempted to reinslave the Negro by their 
enactments against vagrants and provisions for appren- 
ticeship, is so weak a lie it will not deserve the notice 
of a future historian. Every law passed on these 
subjects since the abolition of slavery was simply copied 
from the codes of the Northern states where free 
labour was the basis of society. 

"Lincoln alone, with his great human heart and 
broad statesmanship, could have saved us. But the 
South had no luck. Again and again in the war 
victory was within her grasp and an unseen hand 
snatched it away. In the hour of her defeat the bullet 



Red Snowdrops 97 

of a madman strikes down the great President, her 
last refuge in ruin. 

"God alone is our help. Let us hold fast to our 
faith in Him. We can only cry with aching hearts 
in the language of the Psalmist of old, 'How long, 
O Lord ? How long ? ' 

"The voices of three men now fill the world with 
their bluster — Charles Sumner, a crack-brained theorist ; 
Thaddeus Stevens, a club-footed misanthrope; and 
B. F. Butler, a triumvirate of physical and mental 
deformity. Yet they are but the cracked reeds of 
a great organ that peals forth the discord of a nation's 
blind rage. When the storm is past, and reason rules 
passion, they will be flung into oblivion. We must 
bend to the storm. It is God's will." 

The people left the church with heavy hearts. They 
were hopelessly depressed. In the afternoon, as the 
churches were being slowly emptied, groups of Negroes 
stood on the corners talking loudly and discussing 
the m3aning of this new Sunday so strangely observed. 
It began to snow. It was late in March, and this was 
an unusual phenomenon in the South. 

The next morning the earth was covered with four 
inches of snow that glistened in the sun with a strange 
reddish hue. On examination it was found that every 
snowdrop had in it a tiny red spot that looked like a 
drop of blood ! Nothing of this kind had ever been 
seen before in the history of the world, so far as any 
one knew. 

This freak of Nature seemed a harbinger of sure and 
terrible calamity. Even the most cultured and thought- 
ful could not shake off the impression it made. 

The Preacher did his best to cheer the people in his 
daily intercourse with them. His Sunday sermons 
seemed in these darkest days unusually tender and. 



98 The Leopard's Spots 

hopeful. It was a marvel to those who heard his bitter 
and sorrowful speech on the day of fasting and prayer 
that he could preach such sermons as those which 
followed. 

Occasionally old Uncle Joshua Miller would ask him 
to preach for the Negroes in their new church on Sunday 
afternoons. He always went, hoping to keep some 
sort of helpful influence over them in spite of their new 
leaders and teachers. It was strange to watch this man 
shake hands with these Negroes, call them familiarly by 
their names, ask kindly after their families, and yet carry 
in his heart the presage of a coming irreconcilable 
conflict. For no one knew more clearly than he that 
the issues were being joined from the deadly grip of that 
conflict of races that would determine whether this 
Republic would be Mulatto or Anglo-Saxon. Yet at 
heart he had only the kindliest feelings for these familiar 
dusky faces now rising a black storm above the horizon, 
threatening the existence of civilised society, under 
the leadership of Simon Legree and Mr. Stevens. 

It seemed a joke sometimes as he thought of it, a 
huge, preposterous joke, this actual attempt to reverse 
the order of Nature, turn society upside down, and make 
a thick-lipped, flat-nosed negro, but yesterday taken 
from the jungle, the ruler of the proudest and strongest 
race of men evolved in two thousand years of history. 
Yet when he remembered the fierce passions in the 
hearts of the demagogues who were experimenting 
with this social dynamite it was a joke that took on a 
hellish, sinister meaning. 



CHAPTER XIII 
DICK 

WHEN Charlie Gaston reached his home after a 
never-to-be-forgotten day in the woods with 
the Preacher, he found a ragged little dirt- 
smeared Negro boy peeping through the fence into the 
woodyard. 

"What you want?" cried Charlie. 

"NuttinV 

"What's your name?" 

"Dick." 

"Who's your father?" 

"Hain't got none. My mudder say she was tricked 
en I'se de trick," he chuckled, and walled his eyes. 

Charlie came close and looked him over. Dick 
giggled and showed the whites of his eyes. 

"What made that streak on your neck?" 

"Nigger done it wid er ax." 

"What nigger?" 

"Low life nigger name er Amos what stays roun' our 
house Sundays." 

"What made him do it?" 

"He 'low he wuz me daddy en I sez he wuz er liar, 
en den he grab de ax en try ter chop me head off." 

"Gracious, he 'most killed you!" 

"Yassir, but de doctor sewed me head back, en hit 
grow'd." 

"Goodness me!" 

11 Say ! " grinned Dick. 

99 



ioo The Leopard's Spots 

"What?" 

"I likes you." 

"Do you?" 

"Yassir, en I ain't gwine home no mo'. I done run 
away, en I wants ter live wid you." 

"Will you help me and Nelse work?" 

" Dat I will. I can do mos' anyt'ing. You ax yer Ma 
fur me, en doan' let dat nigger Nelse git holt er me." 

Charlie's heart went out to the ragged little waif. He 
took him by the hand, led him into the yard, found 
his mother, and begged her to give him a place to sleep 
and keep him. 

His mother tried to persuade him to make Dick go 
back to his home. Nelse was loud in his objections to 
the newcomer, and Aunt Eve looked at him as though 
she would throw him over the fence. 

But Dick stuck doggedly to Charlie's heels. 

"Mamma, dear, see, they tried to cut his head 
off with an ax," cried the boy, and he wheeled 
Dick around and showed the terrible scar across 
the back of his neck. 

"I spec hit's er pity dey didn't cut hit clean off," 
muttered Nelse. 

"Mamma, you can't s send him back to be killed!" 

"Well, darling, I'll see about it to-morrow." 

"Come on, Dick, I'll show you where to sleep." 

The next day Dick's mother was glad to get rid of 
him by binding him legally to Mrs. Gaston, and a lonely 
boy found a playmate and partner in work he was 
never to forget. 



CHAPTER XIV 
THE NEGRO UPRISING 

THE summer of 1867 ! Will ever a Southern man 
or woman who saw it forget its scenes? A 
group of oath-bound secret societies, The Union 
League, The Heroes of America and The Red Strings 
dominating society, and marauding bands of Negroes 
armed to the teeth terrorising the country, stealing, 
burning and murdering. 

Labour was not only demoralised — it had ceased to 
exist. Depression was universal, farming paralysed, 
investments dead, and all property insecure. Moral 
obligations were dropping away from conduct, and a 
gulf as deep as hell and high as heaven opening between 
the two races. 

The Negro preachers openly instructed their flocks to 
take what they needed from their white neighbours. 
If any man dared prosecute a thief the answer was a 
burned barn or a home in ashes. 

The wildest passions held riot at Washington. The 
Congress of the United States, as a deliberative body 
under constitutional forms of government, no longer 
existed. The Speaker of the House shook his fist at the 
President and threatened openly to hang him, and he 
was arraigned for impeachment for daring to exercise 
the constitutional functions of his office. 

The division agents of the Freedman's Bureau in the 
South sent to Washington the most alarming reports, 
declaring a famine imminent. In reply the vindictive 

101 



102 The Leopard's Spots 

leaders levied a tax of fifteen dollars a bale on cotton, 
plunging thousands of Southern farmers into immediate 
bankruptcy and giving to India and Egypt the mastery 
of the cotton markets of the world. 

Congress became to the desolate South what Attila, 
the "Scourge of God," was to civilised Europe. 

The abolitionists of the North, whose conscience was 
the fire that kindled the Civil War, rose in solemn 
protest against this insanity. Their protest was drowned 
in the roar of multitudes maddened by demagogues 
who were preparing for a political campaign. 

Late in August, Hambright and Campbell County 
were thrilled with horror at the report of a terrible 
crime. A whole white family had been murdered in 
their home, the father, mother and three children in 
one night, and no clue to the murderers could be 
found. 

Two days later the rumour spread over the country 
that a horde of Negroes heavily armed were approaching 
Hambright, burning, pillaging and murdering. 

All day terrified women, some walking with babes in 
their arms, some riding in old wagons and carrying what 
household goods they could load on them, were hurrying 
with blanched faces into the town. 

By night five hundred determined white men had 
answered an alarm bell and assembled in the court- 
house. Every Negro save a few faithful servants had 
disappeared. A strange stillness fell over the village. 

Mrs. Gaston sat in her house without a light, looking 
anxiously out of the window, overwhelmed with the 
sense of helplessness. Charlie, frightened by the wild 
stories he had heard, was trying in spite of his fears to 
comfort her. 

"Don't cry, Mamma!" 

"I'm not crying because I'm afraid, darling; I'm only 



The Negro Uprising 103 

crying because your father is not here to-night. I can't 
get used to living without him to protect us." 

"I'll take care of you, Mamma — Nelse and me." 

"Where is Nelse?" 

"He's cleaning up the shotgun." 

"Tell him to come here." 

When Nelse approached, his Mistress asked: 

"Nelse, do you really think this tale is true?" 

"No, Missy, I doan' believe nary word uf it. Same 
time I'se gettin' ready fur 'em. Ef er nigger come 
foolin' roun' dis house ter-night he'll run ergin er 
whole regiment. I hain't been ter wah fur nuttin'." 

"Nelse, you have always been faithful. I trust you 
implicitly." 

"De Lawd, Missy, dat you kin do. I fight fur you 
en dat boy till I drap dead in my tracks." 

"I believe you would." 

"Yessum, cose I would. En I wants dat swode er 
Marse Charles to-night, Missy, en Charlie ter help me 
sharpen 'im on de grinestone." 

She took the sword from its place and handed it to 
Nelse. Was there just a shade of doubt in her heart as 
she saw his black hand close over its hilt as he drew 
it from the scabbard and felt its edge ? If so she 
gave no sign. 

Charlie turned the grindstone while Nelse proceeded 
to violate the laws of nations by putting a keen edge 
on the blade. 

"Nebber seed no sense in dese dull swodes 
nohow." 

"Why ain't they sharp, Nelse?" 

"Doan' know, honey. Marse Charle tell me de law 
doan low it, but dey sho' hain't no law now." 

"We'll sharpen it, won't we, Nelse?" whispered the 
boy, as he turned faster. 



104 The Leopard's Spots 

11 Dat us will, honey. En den you des watch me mow 
niggers ef dey come er prowlin' round dis house." 

"Did you kill many Yankees in the war, Nelse?" 

"Doan' know, honey; 'spec I did." 

"Are you going to take the gun or the sword?" 

" Bofe um 'em, chile. Fse gwine ter shoot er pair 
er niggers fust, en den charge de whole gang wid dis 
swode. Hain't nuttin' er nigger's 'feard uf lak er keen 
edge. Wish ter God I had a razer long es dis swode. 
I'd des walk clean froo er whole army er niggers wid 
guns. Man, hit 'ud des natchelly be er sight ! Day'd 
slam dem guns down en bust demselves open gittin' 
outen my way." 

When the sun rose next morning the bodies of ten 
Negroes lay dead and wounded in the road about a mile 
outside of town. The pickets thrown out in every 
direction had discovered their approach about eleven 
o'clock. They were allowed to advance within a mile. 
There were not more than two hundred in the gang, 
dozens of them were drunk, and, like the Sepoys of 
India, they were under the command of a white 
scalawag. At the first volley they broke and fled in 
wild disorder. Their leader managed to escape. 

This event cleared the atmosphere for a few weeks; 
and the people breathed more freely when another 
company of army regulars marched into the town and 
camped in the school grounds of the old academy. 



CHAPTER XV 
THE NEW CITIZEN KING 

OF all the elections ever conducted by the 
English-speaking race, the one held under 
the "Reconstruction" act of 1867 in the 
South was the most unique. 

Ezra Perkins, the Agent of the Freedman's Bureau, 
issued a windy proclamation to the new citizens to come 
forward on a certain day to register and receive their 
"elective franchise." 

The Negroes poured into town from every direction 
from early dawn. Some carried baskets, some carried 
jugs, and some were pushing wheelbarrows, but most of 
them had an empty bag. They were packed around 
the Agency in a solid black mass. 

Nelse laughed until a crowd gathered around him. 

"Lordy, look at dem bags !" he shouted. "En dar's 
ole Ike wid er jug. He's gwine ter take hisen in licker. 
En bress God, dar's er fool wid er wheelbarer !" Nelse 
lay down and rolled with laughter. 

They failed to see the joke, and when the Agency 
was opened they made a break for the door, trampling 
each other down in a mad fear that there wouldn't be 
enough "elective franchise" to go round. 

The first Negro who emerged from the door came 
with a crestfallen face and an empty bag on his arm. 

He was surrounded by anxious inquirers. 

"What wuz hit?" 
Nuffin'. Des stan' up dar befo' er man wid big 

io5 



<< 



106 The Leopard's Spots 

whiskers en he make me swar ter export de Constertu- 
tion er de Nunited States er Nor'f Calliny." 

When Nelse appeared Perkins looked at him a moment 
and asked: 

"Are you a member of the Union Leaguer" 

"Dat I hain't." 

"Then stand aside and let these men register. If }^ou 
want to vote you had better join." 

Nelse made no reply, but in a short time he returned 
with the Reverend John Durham by his side. He was 
allowed to register, but from that day he was a marked 
man among his race. 

When the registration closed Perkins was in high glee. 

"We've got 'em, Timothy. It's a dead sure thing!" 
he cried, as he slipped his arm around Tim's shoulder. 

"Will vhe majority be big?" asked Tim. 

"If it ain't big enough we'll disfranchise more aristo- 
crats and enfranchise the dogs." Tim wondered 
whether this proposition was altogether nattering. 

During the progress of the campaign, a committee 
from the organisation of the "truly loyal," Ezra Perkins 
and Dave Haley, called on Tom Camp. 

"Mr. Camp, we want your help as a leader among the 
poor white people to save the country from these rebel 
aristocrats who have ruined it," said Ezra. 

"You're barkin' up the wrong tree !" answered Tom, 
dryly. 

"The poor men have got to stand together now and 
get their rights." 

"Well, if I've got to stand with niggers, have 'em 
hug me and blow their breath in my face, as you fellers 
are doin', you can count me out; and if that's all you 
want with me, you'll find the door open." 

Haley tried his hand. 

"Look here, Camp, we ain't got no hard feelin's agin 



The New Citizen King 107 

you, but there's a-goin' to be trouble for every rebel in 
this county who don't git on our side and do it quick." \ 

"I'm used to trouble, pardner," replied Tom. 

"You've got a nice little cabin home and ten acres of 
land. Fight us, and we will give this house and lot to 
a nigger." 

"I don't believe it,' cried Tom. 

"Come, come," said Perkins, "you're not fool enough 
to fight us when we've got a dead sure thing, a majority 
fixed before the voting begins, Congress and the whole 
army back of us?" 

"I ain't er nigger," said Tom, doggedly. 

"What's the use to be a fool, Camp," cried Haley. 
"We are just using the nigger to stick the votes in the 
box. He thinks he's goin' to heaven, but we'll iide him 
all the way up to the gate and hitch him on the outside. 
Wili you come in with us?" 

"Don't like your complexion," he answered, rising 
and going toward the door. 

"Then we'll turn you out into the road in less than 
two years," said Haley as they left. 

"All right !" laughed the old soldier. "I slept on the 
ground four years, boys." 

When he came back into the room he met his wife 
with tears in her eyes. "Oh, Tom, I'm afraid they'll 
do what they say ! " 

"To tell you the truth, ole woman, I'm afraid so, too. 
But we're in the hands of the Lord. This is His house. 
If He wants to take it away from me now, when I'm 
crippled and helpless, He knows what's best." 

"I wish you didn't have to go agin 'em." 

"I ain't er nigger, ole gal, and I don't flock with 
niggers. If God Almighty had meant me to be one 
He'd have made my skin black." 

On election day no publication of the polling places 



io8 The Leopard's Spots 

had been made. Ezra Perkins had in charge the whole 
county. He consolidated the fifteen voting precincts 
into three and located these in Negro districts. He 
notified only the members of the secret Leagues where 
these three voting places were to be found, and other 
people were allowed to find then on the day of the 
election as best they could. 

Perkins made himself the poll-holder at Hambright, 
though he was a candidate for member of the Constitu- 
tional Convention, and the poll-holders were allowed 
to keep the ballots in their possession for three days 
before forwarding to the general in command at 
Charleston, South Carolina. 

Scores of Negroes, under the instructions of their 
leaders, voted three times that day. Every Negro boy 
fairly well grown was allowed to vote and no questions 
asked as to his age. 

Nelse approached the polls, attempting to cast a vote 
against the Reverend Ezra Perkins, the poll-holder. 
A crowd of infuriated negroes surrounded him in a 
moment. 

"Kill 'im ! Knock 'im in the head ! De black debbil, 
votin' agin his colour!" 

Nelse threw his big fists right and left and soon had 
an open space in the edge of which lay a half-dozen 
Negroes scrambling to get to their feet. 

The Negroes formed a line in front of him and the 
foremost one said: 

"You try ter put dat vote in de box we bust yo' 
head open !" 

Nelse knocked him down before he got the words 
well out of his mouth. "Honey, I'se er bad nigger!" 
he shouted with a grin, as he stepped back and started 
to rush the line. 

Perkins ordered the guard to arrest him. 



The New Citizen King 109 

As the guard carried Nelse away a crowd of angry 
Negroes followed, grinning and cursing. 

"We lay fur you yit, ole hoss!" was their parting 
word as he disappeared through the jail door. 

That night at the supper table in the hotel at Ham- 
bright an informal census of the voters was taken. 
There were present at the table a distinguished ex-judge, 
two lawyers, a general, two clergymen, a merchant, a 
farmer and two mechanics. The only man of all 
allowed to vote that day was the Negro who waited 
on the table. 

Thus began the era of a corrupt and degraded ballot in 
the South that was to bring forth sorrow for generations 
yet unborn. The intelligence, culture, wealth, social 
prestige, brains, conscience and the historic institutions 
of a great state had been thrust under the hoof of 
ignorance and vice. 

The votes were sent to the military commandant at 
Charleston and the results announced. The Negroes 
had elected one hundred and ten representatives and 
the whites ten. It was gravely announced from 
Washington that a "republican form of government M 
had at last been established in North Carolina. 



CHAPTER XVI 
LEGREE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE 

THE new government was now in full swing and 
a saturnalia began. Amos Hogg was Governor, 
Simon Legree Speaker of the House, and the 
Honourable Tim Shelby leader of the majority on the 
floor of the House. 

Raleigh, the quaint little City of Oaks, never saw 
such an assemblage of lawmakers gathered in the 
gray stone Capitol. 

Ezra Perkins, who was a member of the Senate, was 
frugal in his habits, and found lodgings at an unpre- 
tentious boarding-house near the Capitol square. 

The room was furnished with six iron cots on which 
were placed straw mattresses, and six honourable mem- 
bers of the new Legislature occupied these. They were 
close enough together to allow a bottle of whisky to 
be freely passed from member to member at any hour 
of the night. They thought the beds were arranged 
with this in view and were much pleased. 

Ezra was the only man in the crowd who arrived in 
Raleigh with a valise or trunk. He had a carpet-bag. 
The others simply had one shirt and a few odds and 
ends tied in red bandanna handkerchiefs. 

Three of them had walked all the way to Raleigh 
and kept in the woods from habit as deserters. The 
other two rode on the train and handed their tickets 
to the first stranger they saw on the platform of the 
car they boarded. 

no 



Legree Speaker of the House in 

4 'What's this for?" said the stranger. 

"Them's our tickets. Ain't you the doorkeeper?" 

"No; but there ought to be one to every circus. 
You'll have one when you get to Raleigh." 

The landlady, Mrs. Duke, apologised for the poor 
beds when she showed them to their room. "I'm sorry, 
gentlemen, I can't give you softer beds." 

"That's all right, Ma'am; them's fine. Us fellows 
been sleeping in the woods and in straw stacks so long 
dodgin' ole Vance's officers, them white sheets is the 
finest thing we've seed in four years er more." 

They were humble and made no complaints. But at 
the end of the week they gathered around the Rev- 
erend Ezra Perkins for a grave consultation. 

"When are we goin' ter draw?" said one. 

"Air we ever goin' ter draw?" asked another, with 
sorrow and dcubt. 

"What are we here for if we cain't draw? " pleaded 
another, looking sadly at Ezra. 

"Gentlemen," answered Ezra, "it will be all right 
in a little while. The Treasurer is just cranky. We 
can draw our mileage Monday, anyhow." 

At daylight they took their places on the bank's 
steps, and at ten o'clock when the bank opened the 
doors were besieged by a mob of members painfully 
anxious to draw before it might be too late. 

Next morning r,here was a disturbance at the break- 
fast table. The morning paper had in blazing headlines 
an account of one James "Mileage, " who was a member 
of the Legislature from an adjoining county thirty- 
seven miles distant. He had sworn to a mileage record 
of one hundred and seven dollars. 

"That's an unfortunate mistake, sir," said Perkins. 

"Ten' ter yer own business," answered James 
"Mileage." 



ii2 The Leopard's Spots 

"I call it er purty sharp trick," broadly grinned 
his partner. 

"I call it stealin'," sneered an honourable member, 
evidently envious. 

And James "Mileage" was his name for all time, but 
"Mileage" shot a malicious look at the member who 
had called him a thief. 

The next morning the paper of the opposition had 
another biographical sketch on the front page. 

"I see your name in the paper this morning, Mr. 
Scoggins?" remarked Mrs. Duke, looking pleasantly 
at the member who had spoken so rudely to James 
"Mileage" the day before. 

"Well, I reckon I'll make my mark down here before 
it's over," chuckled Scoggins, with pride. "What do 
they say about me, Ma'am?" 

"They say you stole a lot of hogs!" tittered tha 
landlady. 

Mr. Scoggins turned red. 

1 ' O-ho, is there another thief in this hon'able 
body?" sneered James "Mileage." 

"That's all a lie, Ma'am, 'bout them hogs. I didn't 
steal 'em. I just pressed 'em from a Secessiner." 

"Jes' so," said James "Mileage"; "but they say you 
were a deserter at the time, and not exactly in the 
service of your country." 

"Ye can't pay no 'tention ter rebel lies ergin Union 
men," explained Scoggins, eating faster. 

"Yes, that's so," said James "Mileage"; "but there's 
another funny thing in the paper about you." 

"What's that? " cried Scoggins, with new alarm. 

"That Mr. Scoggins met Sherman's army with loud 
talk about lovin' the Union, but that a mean Yankee 
officer gave him a cussin' fur not fightin' on one side or 
the other, took all that bacon he had stolen, hung him 



Legree" Speaker of the House 113 

up by the heels, gave him thirty lashes, and left him 
hanging in the air." 

"It's a lie! It's a lie!" bellowed Scoggins. 

1 ' Gentlemen ! Gentlemen ! We must not have such 
behaviour at my table ! " exclaimed Mrs. Duke. 

And "Hog" Scoggins was his name from that day. 

By the end of the week another painful story was 
printed about one of this group of statesmen. The 
newspaper brutally declared that he had been convicted 
of stealing a rawhide from a neighbour's tanyard. 
It could not be denied. And then a sad thing happened. 
The moral sentiment of the little community could 
not endure the strain. It suddenly collapsed. They 
laughed at these incidents of the sad past and agreed 
that they were jokes. They began to call each other 
James "Mileage," "Hog" Scoggins and "Rawhide" 
in the friendliest way, and dared a scornful world to 
make them feel ashamed of anything. 

But the Reverend Ezra Perkins was pained by this 
breakdown. He felt that, being safely removed two 
thousand miles from his own past, he might hope for 
a future. 

"Mrs. Duke," he complained to his landlady, "I will 
have to aj.i you to give me a room to myself. I'll pay 
double. I want quiet, where I can read my Bible and 
meditate occasionally." 

"Certainly, Mr. Perkins, if you are willing to pay 
for it." 

It was so arranged. But this assumption of moral 
superiority by Perkins grieved "Mileage," "Hog" 
and "Rawhide," and a coolness sprang up between 
them, until they found Ezra one night in his place of 
meditation dead drunk and his room on fire. He had 
gone to sleep in his chair with his empty bottle by his 
side and knocked the candle over on the bed. Then 



ii4 The Leopard's Spots 

they agreed that forever after they would all stand 
together, shoulder to shoulder, until they brought the 
haughty low and exalted the lowly and the "loyal." 

Tim Shelby early distinguished himself in this august 
assemblage. His wit and eloquence from the first 
commanded the admiration of his party. 

When he had fairly established himself as leader, he 
rose in his seat one day with unusual gravity. His 
scalp was working his ears with great rapidity, showing 
his excitement. 

He had in his hands a bill on which he had spent 
months in secret study. He had not even hinted its 
contents to any of his associates. Under the call for 
bills his voice rang with deep emphasis. 

"Mr. Speaker!" 

Legree gave him instant recognition. 

"I desire to introduce the following: 'A Bill to be 
Entitled An Act to Relieve Married Women from the 
Bonds of Matrimony when United to Felons, and to 
Define Felony.' " 

A page hurried to the Reading Clerk with his bill. 

The hum of voices ceased. The five or six represent- 
atives of the white race left their desks and walked 
toward the Speaker. The Clerk read in a clecr voice: 

"The General Assembly of North Carolina do enact: 

" I. That all citizens of the State who took part in 
the Rebellion and fought against the Union, or held 
office in the so-called Confederate States of America, 
shall be held guilty of felony, and shall be forever 
debarred from voting or holding office. 

"II, That the married relations of all such felons are 
hereby dissolved and their wives absolutely divorced, 
and said felons shall be forever barred from con- 
tracting marriage or living under the same roof with 
their former wives." 



Legree Speaker of the House 115 

Instantly four Carpet-bagger members of some 
education rushed for Tim's seat. "Withdraw that 
bill, man, quick ! My God, are you mad!" they all 
cried in a breath. 

Tim was dazed by this unexpected turn and grinned 
in an obstinate way. 

"I can't see it, gentlemen. That bill will kill out the 
breed of rebels and fix the status of every Southern 
state for five hundred years. It's just what we need to 
make this state loyal." 

"You pass that bill and hell will break loose!" 

"How so, brother? Ain't we on top and the rebels 
on the bottom? Ain't the army here to protect us? " 
persisted Tim. 

There was a brief consultation among the little 
group in opposition, and the leader said: 

"Mr. Speaker, I move that the bill be at once printed 
and laid on the desk of the members for consid- 
eration." 

Tim was astonished at this move of his enemy. 
Legree looked at him and waited his pleasure. 

"Mr. Speaker, I withdraw that bill for the present," 
he said at length. 

That night the wires were hot between Washington 
and Raleigh and the entire power of Congress was 
hurled upon the unhappy Tim. His bill was not only 
suppressed, but the news agencies were threatened and 
subsidised to prevent accounts of its introduction 
being circulated throughout the country. 

Tim decided to lay this measure over until Congress 
was off his hands and the state's autonomy fully 
recognised. Then he would dare interference. In the 
meantime, he turned his great mind to financial 
matters. His success here was overwhelming. 

His first measure was to increase the per diem of the 



n6 The Leopard's Spots 

members from three to seven dollars a day. It passed 
with a whoop. 

Uncle Pete Sawyer, a coal-black, fatherly looking old 
darky from an eastern county, made himself immortal 
in that debate. 

"Mistah Speakah!" he bawled, drawing himself up 
with great dignity and holding a pen in his left hand 
as though he had been writing. "What do these white 
gem'men mean by ezposen' this bill ? Ef we doan* pay 
de members enuf, dey des be erbleeged ter steal. Hit 
ain't right, sah, ter fo'ce de members er dis hon'able 
body ter prowl atter dark when day otter be here 
'tendin' ter de business o' de country. En I moves 
you, sah, Mist ah Speakah, dat dese rema'ks er mine be 
filed in de ar kibes er grabity ! " 

They were filed and embalmed in the archives of 
gravity, where they will remain a monument to their 
author and his times. 

As Tim's great financial measures made progress, the 
members began to wear better clothes, assumed white 
linen shirts, had their shoes blacked, and put on the airs 
of overworked statesmen. 

When they had used up all the funds of the state in 
mileage and per diem, they sold and divided the school 
fund, railroad bonds worth half a million, for a hundred 
thousand ready cash. It was soon found that Simon 
Legree, the Speaker of the House, was the master of 
financial measures and Tim Shelby was his mouthpiece. 

Legree organised three groups of thieves, composed 
of the officials needed to perfect the thefts in every 
branch of the government, while he retained the leader- 
ship of the federated groups. The Treasurer, who was 
an honest man, was stripped of power by a special act. 

The Capitol Ring merely picked up the odds and 
ends about the Capitol building. They refurnished the 



Legree Speaker ol the House 117 

Legislative Halls. They spent more than two hundred 
thousand dollars for furniture, and when it was 
appraised its value was found to be seventeen thousand 
dollars at the prices they actually paid for it. The Ring 
stole one hundred and seventy thousand dollars on 
this item alone. 

An appropriation of three hundred thousand dollars 
was made for "supplies, sundries and incidentals." 
With this they built a booth around the statue of 
Washington at the end of the Capitol and established 
a bar with fine liquors and cigars for the free use of the 
members and their friends. They kept it open every 
day and night during their reign, and in a suite of 
rooms in the Capitol they established a brothel. From 
the galleries a swarm of courtesans daily smiled on 
their favourites on the floor. 

The printing had never cost the state more than eight 
thousand dollars in any one year. This year it cost 
four hundred and eighty thousand. Legree drew 
thousands of warrants on the state for imaginary 
persons. There were eight pages in the house. He 
drew pay for one hundred and fifty-six pages. In 
this way he raised an enormous corruption fund for 
immediate use in bribing the lawmakers to carry 
through his schemes. 

The Railroad Ring was his most effective group of 
brigands. They passed bills authorising the issue of 
twenty-five millions of dollars in bonds, and actually 
issued and stole fourteen millions and never built 
one foot of railroad. 

When Legree's movement was at its high tide, Ezra 
Perkins sought Uncle Pete Sawyer one night in behalf 
of a pet measure of his pending in the House. 

Peter was seated by his table, counting by the light 
of a candle three big piles of gold. 



n8 The Leopard's Spots 

His face was wreathed in smiles. 

"Peter, you seem well pleased with the world 
to-night? " said Ezra, gleefully. 

"Well, brudder, you see dem piles er yaller money? " 

"Yes. It is a fine sight." 

Uncle Pete smacked his lips and grinned from ear 
to ear. 

"Well, brudder, I tells you. I ben sol' seben times 
in my life, but 'fore Gawd dat's de fust time I ebber 
got de money! " 

Uncle Pete dreamed that night that Congress passed 
a law extending the blessings of a "republican form of 
government" to North Carolina for forty years and 
that the Legislature never adjourned. 

But the Legislature finally closed, and in a drunken 
revel which lasted all night. They had bankrupted the 
state, destroyed its school funds and increased its debt 
from sixteen to forty-two millions of dollars without 
adding one cent to its wealth or power. 

Legree then organised a Municipal and County 
Ring to exploit the towns, cities and counties, 
having passed a bill vacating all county and city 
offices. 

This Ring secured the control of Hambright and 
levied a tax of twenty-five per cent, for municipal 
purposes ! Tom Camp's little home was assessed for 
eighty-five dollars in taxes. Mrs. Gaston's home 
was assessed for one hundred and sixty dollars. They 
could have raised a million as easily as the sum of 
these assessments. 

It cost the United States Government two hundred 
millions of dollars that year to pay the army required 
to guard the Legrees and their "loyal" men while 
they were thus establishing and maintaining "a repub- 
lican form of government" in the South. 



CHAPTER XVII 
THE SECOND REIGN OF TERROR 

IT was the bluest Monday the Reverend John Durham 
ever remembered in his ministry. A long drought 
had parched the corn into twisted and stunted 
little stalks that looked as though they had been burnt 
in a prairie fire. The fly had destroyed the wheat crop 
and the cotton was dying in the blistering sun of August, 
and a blight worse than drought, or flood, or pestilence 
brooded over the land, flinging the shadow of its Black 
Death over every home. The tax-gatherer of the new 
"republican form of government," recently established 
in North Carolina, now demanded his pound of flesh. 

The Sunday before had been a peculiarly hard one 
for the Preacher. He had tried by the sheer power of 
personal sympathy to lift the despairing people out 
of their gloom and make strong their faith in God. In 
his morning sermon he had torn his heart open and 
given them its red blood to drink. At the night service 
he could not rally from the nerve tension of the morning. 
He felt that he had pitiably failed. The whole day 
seemed a failure, black and hopeless. 

All day long the sorrowful stories of ruin and loss of 
homes were poured into his ear. 

The Sheriff had advertised for sale for taxes two 
thousand three hundied and twenty homes in Campbell 
County. The land under such conditions had no value. 
It was only a formality for the auctioneer to cry it and 
knock it down for the amount of the tax bill. 

119 



120 The Leopard's Spots 

As he arose from bed with the burden of all this 
hopeless misery crushing his soul, a sense of utter 
exhaustion and loneliness came over him. 

"My love, I must go back to bed and try to sleep. 
I lay awake last night until two o'clock. I can't eat 
anything," he said to his wife as she announced 
breakfast. 

"John, dear, don't give up like that." 

"Can't help it." 

"But you must. Come, here is something that will 
tone you up. I found this note under the front door 
this morning." 

"What is it?" 

"A notice from some of your admirers that you 
must leave this county in forty-eight hours or take 
the consequences." 

He looked at this anonymous letter and smiled. 

"Not such a failure after all, am I? " he mused. 

"I thought that would help you," she laughed. 

"Yes I can eat breakfast on the strength of that." 

He spread this letter out beside his plate and read 
and reread it as he ate, while his eyes flashed with a 
strange, half -humourous light. 

"Really, that's fine, isn't it? 'You sower of sedition 
and rebellion, hypocrite and false prophet. The day 
has come to clean this county of treason and traitors. 
If you dare to urge the people to further resistance to 
authority there will be one traitor less in this county.' 
That sounds like the voice of a Daniel come to 
judgment, don't it?" 

"I think Ezra Perkins might know something about 
it." 

"I am sure of it." 

"Well, I'm duly grateful; it's done for you what your 
wife couldn't do — cheered you up this morning." 



The Second Reign of Terror 121 

"That is so, isn't it ? It takes a violent poison some- 
times to stimulate the heart's action." 

" Now, if you will work the garden for me, where I've 
been watering it the past month, you will be yourself 
by dinner time." 

"I will. That's about all we've got to eat. I've had 
no salary in two months and I've no prospects for the 
next two months." 

He was at work in the garden when Charlie Gaston 
suddenly ran through the gate toward him. His face 
was red, his eyes streaming with tears and his breath 
coming in gasps. 

"Doctor, they've killed Nelse ! Mamma says please 
come down to our house as quick as you can." 

"Is he dead, Charlie?" 

"He's 'most dead. I found him down in the woods 
lying in a gulley : one leg is broken, there's a big gash over 
his eye, his back is beat to a jelly and one of his arms 
is broken. We put him in the wagon and hauled him 
to the house. I'm afraid he's dead now. Oh, me!" 
The boy broke down and choked with sobs. 

"Run, Charlie, for the doctor, and I'll be there in a 
minute." 

The boy flew through the gate to the doctor's 
house. 

When the Preacher reached Mrs. Gaston's Aunt Eve 
was wiping the blood from Nelse's mouth. 

" De Lawd hab mussy ! My po' ole man's done kilt." 

"Who could have done this, Eve?" 

"Dem Union Leaguers. Dey say dey wuz gwine ter 
kill him fur not j'inin' 'em en fur tryin' ter vote ergin 
em. 

"I've been afraid of it," sighed the Preacher as he 
felt Nelse's pulse. 

" Yassir, en now dey's done hit. My po* ole man. I 



122 The Leopard's Spots 

wish I'd a-been better ter 'im. Lawd Jesus, help me 
now ! " 

Eve knelt by the bed and laid her face against Nelse's 
while the tears rained down her black face. 

"Aunt Eve, it may not be so bad," said the Preacher, 
hopefully. "His pulse is getting stronger. He has an 
iron constitution. I believe he will pull through, if 
there are no internal injuries." 

"Praise God ! Ef he do git well, I tell yer now, Marse 
John, I fling er spell on dem niggers 'bout dis !" 

"I am afraid you can do nothing with them. The 
courts are all in the hands of these scoundrels and the 
Governor of the state is at the head of the Leagues." 

"I doan' want no cotes, Marse John, I'se cote ennuf. 
I kin cunjure dem niggers widout any cote." 

The doctor pronounced his injuries dangerous but 
not necessarily fatal. Charlie and Dick watched with 
Eve that night until nearly midnight. Nelse opened 
his eyes and saw the eager face of the boy, his eyes 
yet red from crying. 

"I ain't dead, honey!" he moaned. 

"Oh! Nelse, I'm so glad!" 

"Doan' you believe I gwine die. I gwine ter git eben 
wid dem niggers 'fore I leab dis worl'." 

Nelse spoke feebly, but there was a way about his 
saying it that boded no good to his enemies, and Eve 
was silent. As Nelse improved, Eve's wrath steadily 
rose. 

The next day she met in the street one of the 
Negroes who had threatened Nelse. 

"How's Mistah Gaston dis mawnin', Ma'am?" he 
asked. 

Without a word of warning she sprang on him like a 
tigress, bore him to the ground, grasped him by the 
throat and pounded his head against a stone. She 



The Second Reign of Terror 123 

would have choked him to death had not a man who 
was passing come to che rescue. 

"Lemme 'lone, man; I'se doin' de wuk er God." 
"You're committing murder, woman." 
When the Negro got up he jumped the fence and 
tore down through a cornfield as though pursued by a 
hundred devils, now and then glancing over his shoulder 
to see if Eve were after him. 

The Preacher tried in vain to bring the perpetrators 
of this outrage on Nelse to justice. He identified six 
of them positively. They were arrested, and when 
put on trial immediately discharged by the judge, who 
was himself a member of the League that had ordered 
Nelse whipped. 

• •••••• 

Tom Camp's daughter was now in her sixteenth year, 
and as plump and winsome a lassie, her Scotch mother 
declared, as the Lord ever made. She was engaged to 
be married to Hose Norman, a gallant poor white from 
the high hill country at the foot of the mountains. 
Hose came to see her every Sunday, riding a black mule, 
gaily trapped out in martingales with red rings, double 
girths to his saddle and a flaming red tassel tied on 
each side of the bridle. Tom was not altogether 
pleased with his future son-in-law. He was too wild, 
went to too many frolics, danced too much, drank too 
much whisky, and was too handy with a revolver. 

"Annie, child, you'd better think twice before you 
step off with that young buck," Tom gravely warned 
his daughter as he stroked her fair hair one Sunday 
morning while she waited for Hose to escort her to 
church. 

"I have thought a hundred times, Paw, but what's 
the use. I love him. He can just twist me round his 
little finger. I've got to have him." 



124 The Leopard's Spots 

"Tom Camp, you don't want to forget you were 
not a saint when I stood up with you one day," cried 
his wife, with a twinkle in her eye. 

"That's a fact, ole woman," grinned Tom. 

"You never give me a day's trouble after I got hold 
of you. Sometimes the wildest colts make the safest 
horses." 

"Yes, that's so. It's owing to who has the breaking 
of 'em," thoughtfully answered Tom. 

"I like Hose. He's full of fun, but he'll settle down 
and make her a good husband." 

The girl slipped close to her mother and squeezed her 
hand. 

"Do you love him much, child?" asked her father. 

"Well enough to live and scrub and work for him 
and to die for him, I reckon." 

"All right, that settles it; you're too many for me, 
you and Hose and your Maw. Get ready for it quick. 
We'll have the weddin' Wednesday night. This home 
is goin' to be sold Thursday for taxes, and it will be our 
last night under our own roof. We'll make the best 
of it." 

It was so fixed. On Wednesday night Hose came 
down from the foothills with three kindred spirits, and 
an old fiddler to make the music. He wanted to have 
a dance and plenty of liquor fresh from the mountain- 
dew district. But Tom put his foot down on it. 

"No dancin' in my house, Hose, and no licker," said 
Tom, with emphasis. "I'm a deacon in the Baptist 
church. I used to be young and as good lookin' as you, 
my boy, but I've done with them things. You're goin' 
to take my little gal now. I want you to quit your 
foolishness and be a man." 

"I will, Tom, I will. She is the prettiest, sweetest 
little thing in this world, and to tell you the truth, I'm 



The Second Reign of Terror 125 

goin' to settle right down now to the hardest work I 
ever did in my life." 

"That's the way to talk, my boy,' said Tom, putting 
his hand on Hose's shoulder. "You'll have enough to 
do these hard times to make a livin'." 

They made a handsome picture in that humble home, 
as they stood there before the Preacher. The young 
bride was trembling from head to foot with fright. Hose 
was trying to look grave and dignified, and grinning in 
spite of himself whenever he looked into the face of his 
blushing mate. The mother was standing near, her 
face full of pride in her daughter 'o beauty and happiness, 
her heart all a-quiver with the memories of her own 
wedding day seventeen years before. Tom was thinking 
of the morrow, when he would be turned out of his 
home, and his eyes filled with tears. 

The Reverend John Durham had pronounced them 
man and wife and hurried away to see some people who 
were sick. The old fiddler was doing his best. Hose 
and his bride were shaking hands with their friends, 
and the boys were trying to tease the bridegroom with 
hoary old jokes. 

Suddenly a black shadow fell across the doorway. 
The fiddle ceased, and every eye was turned to the door. 
The burly figure of a big Negro trooper from a company 
stationed in the town stood before them. His face was 
in a broad grin, and his eyes bloodshot with whisky. 
He brought his musket down on the floor with a bang. 

"My frien's, I'se sorry ter disturb yer, but I has 
orders ter search dis house." 

"Show your orders," said Tom, hobbling before him. 

"Well, dere's one un 'em!" he said, still grinning as 
he cocked his gun and presented it toward Tom. "En 
ef dat ain't ennuf, dey's fifteen mo' stan'in' 'roun' dis 
house. It's no use ter make er fuss. Come on, boys !" 



126 The Leopard's Spots 

Before Tom could utter another word of protest six 
more Negro troopers, laughing and nudging one another, 
crowded into the room. Suddenly one of them threw a 
bucket of water in the fireplace where a pine knot 
blazed, and two others knocked out the candles. 

There was a scuffle, the quick thud of heavy blows, 
and Hose Norman fell to the floor senseless. A piercing 
scream rang from his bride as she was seized in the 
arms of the Negro who first appeared. He rapidly 
bore her toward the door, surrounded by the six 
scoundrels who had accompanied him. 

"My God, save her! They are draggin' Annie out 
of the house," shrieked her mother. 

"Help! Lord have mercy!" screamed the girl, as 
they bore her away toward the woods, still laughing 
and yelling. 

Tom overtook one of them, snatched his wooden leg 
off, and knocked him down. Hose's mountain boys 
were crowding round Tom with their pistols in their 
hands. 

"What shall we do, Tom? If we shoot we may kill 
Annie." 

"Shoot, men! My God, shoot! There are things 
worse than death!" 

They needed no urging. Like young tigers they 
sprang across the orchard toward the woods whence 
came the sound of the laughter of the Negroes. 

"Stop de screechin' !" cried the leader. 

"She nebber get dat gag out now." 

"Too smart fur de po' white trash dis time sho'!" 
laughed one. 

Three pistol shots rang out like a single report. Three 
more ! and three more ! There was a wild scramble. 
Taken completely by surprise, the Negroes fled in 
confusion. Four lay on the ground. Two were dead, 



The Second Reign of Terror 127 

one mortally wounded, and three more had crawled 
away with bullets in their bodies. There in the midst 
of the heap lay the unconscious girl, gagged. 

"Is she hurt?" cried a mountain boy. 

"Can't tell; take her to the house, quick." 

They laid her across the bed in the room that had 
been made sweet and tidy for the bride and groom. 
The mother bent over her quickly with a light. Just 
where the blue veins crossed in her delicate temple 
there was a round hole from which a scarlet stream 
was running down her white throat. 

Without a word the mother brought Tom, showed 
it to him, and then fell into his arms and burst into a 
flood of tears. 

"Don't; don't cry so, Annie. It might have been 
worse. Let us thank God she was saved from them 
brutes." 

Hose's friends crowded round Tom with tear- 
stained faces. 

"Tom, you don't know how broke up we all are over 
this. Poor child, we did the best we could." 

"It's all right, boys. You've been my friends to- 
night. You've saved my little gal. I want to shake 
hands with you and thank you. If you hadn't been 

here My God, I can't think of what would 'a* 

happened ! Now it's all right. She's safe in God's 
hands." 

The next morning, when Tom Camp called at the 
parsonage to see the Preacher and arrange for the 
funeral of his daughter, he found him in bed. 

"Doctor Durham is quite sick, Mr. Camp, but he'll 
see you," said Mrs. Durham. 

"Thank you. Ma'am." 

She took the old soldier by the hand and her voice 
choked as she said: 



128 The Leopard's Spots 

"You have my heart's deepest sympathy in you* 
awful sorrow." 

" It'll be all for the best, Ma'am. The Lord gave and 
the Lord has taken away. I will still say, Blessed is 
the name of the Lord." 

"I wish I had such faith." She led Tom into the 
room where the Preacher lay. 

"Why, what's this, Preacher? A bandage over your 
eye; looks like somebody knocked you in the head?" 

"Yes, Tom; but it's nothing. I'll be all right by 
to-morrow. You needn't tell me anything that happened 
at your house. I've heard the black hell-lit news. 
It will be all over this county by night and the town 
will be full of grim-visaged men before many hours. 
Your child has not died in vain. A few things like 
this will be the trumpet of the God of our fathers that 
will call the sleeping manhood of the Anglo-Saxon race 
to life again. I must be up and about this afternoon 
to keep down the storm. It is not time for it to break." 

"But, Preacher, what happened to you?" 

"Oh, nothing much, Tom." 

"I'll tell you what happened," cried Mrs. Durham, 
standing erect, with her great black eyes flashing 
with anger. 

"As he came home last night from a visit to the sick, 
he was ambushed by a gang of Negroes led by a white 
scoundrel, knocked down, bound and gagged and placed 
on a pile of dry fence rails. They set fire to the pile 
and left him to burn to death. It attracted the attention 
of Doctor Graham, who was passing. He got to him in 
time to save him." 

"You don't say so!" 

"I'm sorry, Tom, I'm so weak I couldn't come to see 
you. I know your poor wife is heart-broken." 

"Yes, sir, she is; and it cuts me to the quick when 



The Second Reign of Terror 129 

I think that I gave the orders to the boys to shoot. 
But, Preacher, I'd 'a' killed her with my own hand if 
I couldn't 'a* saved her no other way. I'd do it over 
again a thousand times if I had to." 

"I don't blame you; I'd have done the same thing. 
I can't come to see you to-day, Tom. I'll be down to 
your house to-morrow a few minutes before we start for 
the cemetery. I must get up for dinner and prevent 
the men from attacking these troops. They'll net dare 
to try to sell your place to-day. The public square is 
full of men now, and it's only nine o'clock. You go 
home and cheer up your wife. How is Hose ? " 

"He's still in bed. The Doctor says his skull is 
broken in one place, but he'll be over it in a few weeks." 

Tom hobbled back to his house, shaking hands with 
scores of silent men on the way. 

The Preacher crawled to his desk and wrote this note 
to the young officer in command of the post: 

" My Dear Captain: In the interest of peace and 
order I would advise you to telegraph to Independence 
for two companies of white regulars to come 
immediately on a special, and that you start your 
Negro troops on double-quick marching order to 
meet them. There will be a thousand armed men 
in Hambright by sundown, and no power on earth 
can prevent the extermination of that Negro 
company if they attack them. I will do my best to 
prevent further bloodshed, but I can do nothing if 
these troops remain here to-day. Respectfully, 

"John Durham." 

The Commandant acted on the advice immediately. 
• •••••• 

It was the week following before the sales began. 



130 The Leopard's Spots 

There was no help for it. The town and the county 
were doomed to a ruin more complete and terrible than 
the four years of war had brought. Independence had 
been saved by a skilful movement of General Worth, 
who sought an interview with Legree when his council 
first issued their levy of thirty per cent, for municipal 
purposes. 

"Mr. Legree, let's understand one another," said the 
General. 

"All right; I'm a man of reason." 

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." 

"Every time, General." 

"Well, call of! your dogs and rescind your order for 
a thirty per cent, tax levy and I'll raise $30,000 in cash 
and pay it to you in two days." 

"Make it $50,000 and it's a bargain." 

"Agreed." * 

The General raised twenty thousand in the city, went 
North and borrowed the remaining thirty thousand. 

Legree and his brigands received this ransom and 
moved on to the next town. 

Poor Hambright was but a scrawny little village on a 
red hill, with no big values to be saved and no mills to 
interest the commercial world, and the auctioneer lifted 
his hammer. 



CHAPTER xvirr 

THE RED FLAG OF THE AUCTIONEER 

THE excitement through which Tom Camp had 
passed in the death of his daughter, and the 
stirring events connected with it, had been more 
than his feeble body could endure. He had been 
stricken with paroxysms of pain and nausea from his 
old wounds. For three days and nights he had suffered 
unspeakable agonies. He had borne his pain with 
stoical indifference. 

"Tom, old man, do look at me! You skeer me," 
said his wife, leaning tenderly over him. 
"Oh! I'm all right, Annie." 
"What were you studyin' about then?" 
"I was just a thinkin' we didn't kill babies in the war. 
Them was awful times, but they wuz nothin' to what 
we're goin' through now. The Lord knows best, but I 
can't understand it." 

"Well, don't talk any more. You're too weak." 
"I must git up, Annie. Got to git out anyhow. 
The Sheriff's goin' to sell us out to-day, and I want to 
sorter look 'round once before we go." 

So, leaning on his wife's arm, he hobbled around the 
place, saying good-by to its familiar objects. They 
stopped before the garden gate. 

"Don't go in there, Tom; I can't stand it," cried his 
wife. "When I think of leavin' that garden I've worked 
so hard on all these years, and that's give us so many 

131 



132 The Leopard's Spots 

good things to eat, and never failed us the year round, 
| just feel like it'll tear my heart out." 

"Do you mind the day we set out these trees, Annie, 
an' you, my own purty gal, holdin' em fur me while I 
-packed the dirt around 'em, and told you how sweet you 
wuz?" 

"Yes, and I love every twig of 'em. They've all 
helped me in times of need. It's hard to give it up !" 
She couldn't keep back the tears. 

"Well, now, ole woman, you musn't break down. 
You're strong and well, and I'm all shot to pieces and 
crippled and no 'count. But the Lord still lives. We'll 
get this place back. The Lord's just trying our faith. 
He thinks mebbe I'll give up." 

"You think we can ever get it back?" 

"General Worth sent me word he couldn't do any- 
thing now, but to let it go and keep a stiff upper lip. 
The General ain't no fool." 

"Surely the Lord can't let us starve." 

"Starve! I reckon not. The foxes have holes, the 
birds of the air nests, but the Son of Man had not where 
to lay His head, but He never starved. No, God's in 
heaven. I'll trust Him." 

A mocking-bird whose mate had just built her nest to 
rear a second brood for the season was seated on the 
topmost branch of a cedar near the house and singing 
as though he would fill heaven and earth with the glory 
of his love. 

"Just listen at that bird, Tom!" whispered his wife. 
■ "He does sing sweet, don't he?" 

" Oh, dear, oh, dear, how can I give it all up ! I've fed 
that bird and his mate for years. He knows my voice. 
I can call him down out of that tree. Many a night when 
you were away in the war he sat close to my window 
and sang softly to me all night. When I'd wake, I'd 



The Red Flag of the Auctioneer 133 

hear him singin' low like he was afraid he'd wake 
somebody. I'd sit down there by the window and cry for 
you and dream of your comin' home till he'd sing me to 
sleep in the chair. And now we've got to leave him. 
Lord, my heart is broken ! I can't see the way ! " 

She buried her face on Tom's shoulder and shook 
with sobs. 

"Hush, hush, honey; we must face trouble. We are 
used to it." 

"But not this, Tom. It'll tear my heart out when I 
have to leave." 

"It can't be helped, Annie. We've got to pay for 
this nigger government." 

Eleven o'clock was the hour fixed for the sale. At 
half-past ten a crowd of Negroes had gathered. There 
were only two or three white men present, the Agent of 
the Freedman's Bureau and some of his henchmen. 

They began to inspect the place. Tim Shelby was 
present, dressed in a suit of broadcloth and a silk hat 
placed jauntily on his close-cropped scalp. 

"That's a fine orchard, gentlemen," Tim ex- 
claimed. 

"Yes, en dat's er fine gyarden," said a Negro standing 
near. 

"Let's look at the house," said Tim, starting to the 
door. 

Tom stood up in the doorway with a musket in his 
hand. "Put your foot on that doorstep and I'll blow 
your brains out, you flat -nosed baboon!" 

Tim paused and bowed with a smile. 

"Ain't the premises for sale, Mr. Camp?" 

"Yes; but my family ain't for inspection by niggers." 

"Just wanted to see the condition of the house, sir,'* 
said Tim, still smiling. 

"Well, I'm livin' here yet, and don't you forget it/' 



134 The Leopard's Spots 

answered Tom, with quiet emphasis. Tim walked away, 
laughing. 

Tom stepped out of the house, and with his wooden 
leg marked a dead-line around the house about ten feet 
from each corner. To the crowd that stood near he 
said in a clear, ringing voice as he stood up in the 
doorway : 

"I'll kill the first nigger that crosses that line." 

There was no attempt to cross it. They did not like 
the look of Tom's face as he sat there pale and silent. 
And they could hear the sobs of his wife inside. 

The sale was a brief formality. There was but one 
bidder, the Honourable Tim Shelby. It was knocked 
down to Tim for the sum of eighty-five dollars, the exact 
amount of the tax levy which Legree and his brigands 
had fixed. 

Tim was not buying on his own account. He was the 
purchasing agent of the subsidiary ring which Legree 
had organised to hold the real estate forfeited for taxes 
until a rise in value would bring them millions of profit. 
They had stolen from the state Treasury the money to 
capitalise this company. Where it was possible to exact 
a cash ransom, they always took it and cancelled the 
tax order, preferring the certainty of good gold in their 
pockets to the uncertainties of politics. 

They tried their best to get a cash ransom of ten 
thousand dollars for the town of Hambright, but the 
ruined people could not raise a thousand. So Tim 
Shelby, as the agent of the "Union Land and Improve- 
ment Company," became the owner of farm after farm 
and home after home. 

It was a vain hope that relief could come from any 
quarter. The red flag of the Sheriff's auctioneer flut- 
tered from two thousand three hundred and twenty 
doors in the county. This was more than two-thirds of 



The Red Flag of the Auctioneer 135 

the total. Those who had saved just escaped by the skin 
of their teeth. They sold old jewelry or plate that had 
been hidden in the war, or they sold their corn and 
provisions, trusting to their ability to live on dried fruit, 
berries, walnuts, hickory nuts, and such winter vegetables 
as they could raise in their gardens. 

The Preacher secured for Tom a tumbledown log 
cabin on the outskirts of town, with a half -acre of poor 
red hill land around it, which his wife at once trans- 
formed into a garden. She took up the bulbs and 
flowers that she had tended so lovingly about the door 
of their old home and planted them with tears around 
this desolate cabin. Now and then she would look 
down at the work and cry. Then she would go bravely 
back to it. As nobody occupied her old home, she went 
back and forth until she moved all the jonquils and sweet 
pinks from the borders of the garden walk and reset 
them in the new garden. She then moved her straw- 
berries, and raspberries, and gooseberries, and set her 
fall cabbage plants. In three weeks she had transformed 
a desolate red clay lot into a smiling garden. She had 
watered every plant daily, and Tom had watched her 
with growing wonder and love. 

" Ole woman, you're an angel!" he cried. "If God 
had sent one down from the skies she Couldn't have 
done any more." 

• • • • • • • 

The problem which pressed heaviest of all on the 
Preacher's heart in this crisis was how to save Mrs. 
Gaston's home. 

" If that place is sold next week, my dear," he said to 
his wife, "she will never survive." 

" I know it. She is sinking every day. It breaks my 
heart to look at her." 

"What can we do?" 



136 The Leopard's Spots 

"I'm sure I can't tell. We've given everything we 
have on earth except the clothes on our back. I 
haven't another piece of jewelry, or even an old dress." 

1 ' The tax and the cost may amount to a hundred and 
seventy-five dollars. There isn't a man in this county 
who has that much money, or I'd borrow it if I had to 
mortgage my body and soul to do it." 

"I'll tell you what you might do," his wife suddenly 
exclaimed. "Telegraph your old college mate in Boston 
that you will accept his invitation to supply his pulpit 
those last two Sundays in August. They will pay you 
handsomely." 

" It may be possible, but where am I to get the money 
for a telegram and a ticket?" 

"Surely you can borrow somewhere?" 

"I don't know a man in the county who has it." 

"Then go to the young Commandant of the post here. 
Tell him the facts. Tell him that a widow of a brave 
Confederate soldier is about to be turned out of her 
home because she can't pay the taxes levied by this 
infamous Negro government. Ask him to loan you the 
money for the telegram and the ticket." 

The Preacher seized his hat and made his way as fast 
as possible to the camp. The young Captain heard his 
story with grave courtesy. 

"Certainly, Doctor," he said; "I'll loan you the forty 
dollars with pleasure. I wish I could do more to relieve 
the distress of the people. Believe me, sir, the people 
of the North do not dream of the awful conditions of 
the South. They are being fooled by the politicians. 
I'll thank God when I am relieved of this job and get 
home. What has amazed me is that you hot-headed 
Southern people have stood it thus far. I don't know 
a Northern community that would have endured it." 

"Ah, Captain, the people are heartsick of bloodshed. 



The Red Flag of the Auctioneer 137 

They surrendered in good faith. They couldn't foresee 
this. If they had " 

The Preacher paused, his eyes grew misty with tears, 
and he looked thoughtfully out on the blue mountain 
peaks that loomed range after range in the distance until 
the last bald tops were lost in the clouds. 

"If General Lee had dreamed of such an infamy 
being forced on the South two years after his surrender 
as this attempt to make the old slaves the rulers of their 
masters, and to destroy the Anglo-Saxon civilisation of 
the South, he would have withdrawn his armies into 
that Appalachian mountain wild and fought till every 
white man in the South was exterminated. 

"The Confederacy went to pieces in a day, not 
because the South could no longer fight, but because 
they were fighting the flag of their fathers, and they 
were tired of it. They went back to the old flag. They 
expected to lose their slaves and repudiate the dogma of 
Secession forever. But they never dreamed of Negro 
dominion, or Negro deification, of Negro equality and 
amalgamation, now being rammed down their throats 
with bayonets. They never dreamed of the confiscation 
of the desolate homes of the poor and the weak and the 
brokenhearted. More than two hundred thousand 
Southern men fought in the Union army in answer 
to Lincoln's call — even against their own flesh and 
blood. But if this programme had been announced, 
every one < f the two hundred thousand Southern 
soldiers who wore the blue would have rallied around 
the firesides of the South. This infamy was some- 
thing undreamed save in the souls of a few desperate 
schemers at Washington, who waited their opportunity 
and found it in the nation's blind agony over the 
death of a martyred leader." 

The Preacher pressed the Captain's hand and hastened 



138 The Leopard's Spots 

to tell Mrs. Gaston of his plans. He found her seated 
pale and wistful at her window looking out on the lawn, 
now being parched and ruined since Nelse was disabled 
and could no longer tend it. 

Charlie was trying to kiss the tears away from her 
eyes. 

"Mamma, dear, you mustn't cry any more!" 

"I can't help it, darling." 

"They can't take our home away from us. I tore 
down the sign they nailed on the door, and Dick 
burned it up." 

"But they will do it, Charlie. The Sheriff will sell it 
at auction next week, and we will never have a home of 
our own again." 

Charlie quickly bounded to the door and showed the 
Preacher in. 

"I have good news for you, Mrs. Gaston. I start to 
Boston to-night to preach two Sundays. I am going 
to try to borrow the money there to save your home. 
We will not be too sure till it's done, but you must 
cheer up." 

"Oh, Doctor, you're giving me a new lease on life !" 
she cried, looking up at him through tears of gratitude. 
That night the Preacher hurried on his way to Boston. 
The days dragged slowly one after another, and still 
no word came to the anxious, waiting woman. It was 
only two days now until the day fixed for the sale. 

She asked the Sheriff to come to see her. He was a 
brutal t illiterate henchman of Legree, who had been 
appointed to the office to do his bidding. He was a 
brother of the immortal "Hog" Scoggins, who had 
represented an adjoining county in the Legislature. 

"Mr. Scoggins, I've sent for you to ask you to post- 
pone the sale until Doctor Durham returns from Boston. 
I expect to get the money from him to pay the tax bill." 



The Red Flag of the Auctioneer 139 

"Can't do it, M'um. They's er lot er folks comin' ter 
bid on the place." 

V But I tell you I'm going to pay the tax bill." 

"Well, M'um, hit'll have ter be paid afore the time 
sot, er I'll be erbleeged to sell." 

"I'm sure Doctor Durham will get the money." 

"Ef he does, hit'll be the fust time hit's happened in 
this county sence the sales begun." 

In vain she waited for a letter or a telegram from 
Boston. Charlie went faithfully, asking Dave Haley, 
the postmaster, two or three times on the arrival of 
each mail. 

"I tell ye there's nothin' fur ye!" he yelled, as he 
glared at the boy. "Ef ye don't go 'way from that 
winder I'll pitch ye out the door !" 

The scoundrel had recognised the letter in Doctor 
Durham's handwriting and had hidden it, suspecting 
its contents. 

When the day came for the sale Mrs. Gaston tried to 
face the trial bravely. But it was too much for her. 
When she saw a great herd of Negroes trampling down 
her flowers, laughing, cracking vulgar jokes, and 
swarming over the porches, she sank feebly into her 
chair, buried her face in her hands and gave way to a 
passionate flood of tears. She was roused by the 
thumping of heavy feet in the hall and the unmis- 
takable odour of perspiring Negroes. They had 
begun to ransack the house on tours of inspection. 
The poor woman's head drooped and she fell to the 
floor in a dead swoon. 

There was a sudden charge as of an armed host, the 
sound of blows, a wild scramble, and the house was 
cleared. Aunt Eve with a fire shovel, Charlie with a 
broken hoe handle and Dick with a big black snake 
whip had cleared the air. 



140 The Leopard's Spots 

Aunt Eve stood on the front doorstep shaking the 
shovel at the crowd. 

"Des put yo' big fiat hoofs in dis house ergin ! I'll 
split yo' heads wide open ! You black cattle ! " 

"Dat we will!" railed Dick, as he cracked the whip 
at a little Negro passing. 

Charlie ran into his mother's room and found her 
lying across the floor on her face. 

"Aunt Eve, come quick, Mamma's dying!" he 
shouted. » 

They lifted her to the bed, and Dick ran for the 
Doctor. 

Doctor Graham looked very grave when he had 
completed his examination. 

" Come here, my boy; I must tell you some sad news." 

Charlie's big brown eyes glanced up with a startled 
look into the Doctor's face. 

"Don't tell me she's dying, Doctor; I can't stand it." 

The Doctor took his hand. "You're getting to be 
a man now, my son; you will soon be thirteen. You 
must be brave. Your mother will not live through 
the night." 

The boy sank on his knees beside the still white 
figure, tenderly clasped her thin hand in his, and began 
to kiss it slowly. He would kiss it, lay his wet cheek 
against it, and try to warm it with his hot, young blood. 

It was about nine o'clock when she opened her eyes 
with a smile and looked into his face. 

"My sweet boy," she whispered. 

"Oh, Mamma, do try to live! Don't leave me," he 
sobbed in quivering tones as he leaned over and kissed 
her lips. She smiled faintly again. 

"Yes, I must go, dear. I am tired. Your Papa is 
waiting for me. I see him smiling and beckoning to me 
now. I must go." 



The Red Flag of the Auctioneer 141 

A sob shook the boy with an agony no words 
could frame. 

"There, there, dear, don't," she soothingly said. " You 
will grow to be a brave, strong man. You will fight this 
battle out, and win back our home and bring your own 
bride here in the far-away days of sunshine and success 
I see for you. She will love you, and the flowers will 
blossom on the lawn again. But I am tired. Kiss 
me — I must go." 

Her heart fluttered on for awhile, but she never spoke 
again. 

At ten o'clock Mrs. Durham tenderly lifted the boy 
from the bedside, kissed him, and said as she led him 
to his room: 

"She's done with suffering, Charlie. You are going 
to live with me now, and let me love you and be 
your mother." 

• •••••• 

The Preacher had made a profound impression on his 
Boston congregation. 

They were charmed by his simple, direct appeal to the 
heart. His fiery emphasis, impassioned dogmatic faith, 
his tenderness and the strange pathos of his voice swept 
them off their feet. At night the big church was crowded 
to the doors, and throngs were struggling in vain to gain 
admittance. At the close of the services he was 
overwhelmed with the expressions of gratitude and 
heartfelt sympathy with which they thanked him 
for his messages. 

He was feasted and dined and taken out into the 
parks behind spanking teams, until his head was dizzy 
with the unaccustomed whirl. 

The Preacher went through it all with a heavy heart. 
Those beautiful homes, with their rich carpets and 
handsome furniture, and those long lines of beautiful 



142 The Leopard's Spots 

carriages in the parks, made a contrast with the 
agony of universal ruin which he left at home that 
crushed his soul. 

He hastened to tell the story of Mrs. Gaston to a 
genial old merchant who had taken a great fancy to him. 

A tear glistened in the old man's eye as he 
quickly rose. 

"Come right down to my store. I'll get you the 
money before the post-office closes. I've got tickets for 
you to go to the Colosseum with me to-night and hear 
the music — the great Peace Jubilee. We are celebrating 
the return of peace and prosperity and the preservation 
of the Union. It's the greatest musical festival the 
world ever saw." 

The Preacher was dazed with the sense of its sublimity 
and the pathetic tragedy of the South that lay back of 
its joy. 

The great Colosseum, constructed for the purpose, 
seated more than forty thousand people. Such a crowd 
he had never seen gathered together within one building. 
The soul of the orator in him leaped with divine power as 
he glanced over the swaying ocean of human faces. There 
were twelve thousand trained voices in the chorus. He 
had dreamed of such music in Heaven when countless 
hosts of angels should gather around God's throne. He 
had never expected to hear it on this earth. He was 
transported with a rapture that thrilled and lifted him 
above the consciousness of time and sense. 

They rendered the masterpieces of all the ages. The 
music continued hour after hour, day after day, and 
night after night. 

The grand chorus within the Colosseum was accom- 
panied by the ringing of bells in the city and the firing 
of cannon on the Common, discharged in perfect time 
with the melody that rolled upward from those twelve 



The Red Flag of the Auctioneer 143 

thousand voices and broke against the gates of Heaven. 
When every voice was in full cry, and every instrument 
jf music that man had ever devised throbbed in 
harmony, and a hundred anvils were ringing a chorus of 
steel in perfect time, Perepa Rosa stepped forward on 
the great stage, and in a voice that rang its splendid 
note of triumph over all like the trumpet of the arch- 
angel, sang "The Star-Spangled Banner." 

Men and women fainted, and one woman died, unable 
to endure the strain. The Preacher turned his head 
away and looked out of the window. A soft wind was 
blowing from the South. On its wings were borne to 
his heart the cry of the widow and orphan, the hungry 
and the dying, still being trampled to death by a war 
more terrible than the first, because it was waged against 
the unarmed, women and children, the wounded, the 
starving and the defenseless ! He tried in vain to keep 
back the tears. Bending low, he put his face in his 
hands and cried like a child. 

" God forgive them ! They know not what they do ! " 
he moaned. 

The kindly old man by his side said nothing, supposing 
he was overcome by the grandeur of the music. 



CHAPTER XIX 
THE RALLY OF THE CLANSMEN 

WHEN the Preacher took the train in Boston 
for the South, his friendly merchant, a 
deacon, was by his side. 

"Now, you put my name and address down in your 
note-book — William Crane. And don't forget about us." 

"I'll never forget you, Deacon." 

"Say, I may just as well tell you," whispered the 
Deacon, bending close; "we are not going to allow you 
to stay down South. We'll be down after you before 
long — just as well be packing up." 

The Preacher smiled, looked out of the car window, 
and made no reply. 

"Well, good-by, Doctor; good-by. God bless you 
and your work and your people. You've brought me 
a message warm from God's heart. I'll never forget it." 

"Good-by, Deacon." 

As the train whirled southward through the rich, 
populous towns and cities of the North, again the sharp 
contrast with the desolation of his own land cut him 
like a knife. He thought of Legree and Haley, Perkins 
and Tim Shelby robbing widows and orphans and sweep- 
ing the poverty-stricken Southland with riot, pillage, 
murder and brigandage, and posing as the representa- 
tives of the conscience of the North. And his heart 
was heavy with sorrow. 

On reaching Hambright he was thunderstruck at the 

144 



The Rally of the Clansmen 145 

news of the sale of Mrs. Gaston's place and her tragic 
death. 

"Why, my dear, I sent the money to her on the first 
Monday I spent in Boston," he declared to his wife. 

"It never reached her." 

"Then Dave Haley, the dirty slave-driver, has held 
that letter. I'll see to this." He hurried to the post- 
office. 

"Mr. Haley," he exclaimed, "I sent a money-order 
letter to Mrs. Gaston from Boston on Monday a week 
ago. 

"Yes, sir," answered Haley in his blandest manner, 
"it got here the day after the sale." 

"You're an infamous liar!" shouted the Preacher, 

"Of course. Of course. All Union men are liars, to 
hear rebel traitors talk." 

"I'll report you to Washington for this rascality." 

"So do, so do. Mor'n likely the President and the 
Post-Office Department '11 be glad to have this informa- 
tion from so great a man." 

As the Preacher was leaving the post-office he encoun- 
tered the Honourable Tim Shelby, dressed in the height 
of fashion, his silk hat shining in the sun and his eyes 
rolling with the joy of living. The Preacher stepped 
squarely in front of Tim. 

"Tim Shelby, I hear you have moved into Mrs. 
Gaston's home and are using her furniture. By whose 
authority do you dare such insolence?" 

"By authority of the law, sir. Mrs. Gaston died 
intestate. Her effects are in the hands of our County 
Administrator, Mr. Ezra Perkins. I'll be pleased to 
receive you, sir, any time you would like to call," said 
Tim, with a bow. 

"Ill call in due time," replied the Preacher, looking 
Tim straight in the eye. 



146 The Leopard's Spots 

Haley had been peeping through the window, watching 
and listening to this encounter. 

"These charmin' preachers think they own this 
county, Brother Shelby," laughed Haley, as he grasped 
Tim's outstretched hand. 

"Yes, they are the curse of the state. I wish to God 
they had succeeded in burning him alive that night the 
boys tried it. They'll get him later on. Brother Haley, 
he's a dangerous man. He must be put out of the way 
or we'll never have smooth sailing in this county." 

"I believe you're right. He's just been in here cussin* 
me about that letter of the widder's that didn't get to 
her in time. He thinks he can run the post-office." 

"Well, we'll show him this county's in the hands of 
the loyal," added Tim. 

"Heard the news from Charleston?" 

"Heard it? I guess I have. I talked with the com- 
manding general in Charleston two weeks ago. He 
told me then he was going to set aside that decision of 
the Supreme Court in a ringing order permitting the 
marriage of Negroes to white women, and commanding 
its enforcement on every military post. I see he's 
done it in no uncertain words." 

"It's a great day, brother, for the world. There'll be 
no more colour line." 

"Yes, times have changed," said Tim, with a trium- 
phant smile. "I guess our white hot-bloods will sweat 
and bluster and swear a little when they read that order. 
But we've got the bayonets to enforce it. They'd just 
as well cool down." 

"That's the stuff," said Haley, taking a fresh chew 
of tobacco. 

"Let 'em squirm. They're flat on their backs. We 
are on top, and we are going to stay on top. I expect to 
lead a fair white bride into my house before another 



The Rally of the Clansmen 147 

year, and have poor white aristocrats to tend my 
lawn." Tim worked his ears and looked up at the 
ceiling in a dreamy sort of way. 

"That'll be a sight, won't it !" exclaimed Haley, with 
delight. "Where's that scoundrel Nelse that lived 
with Mrs. Gaston?" 

"Oh, we fixed him," said Tim. "The black rascal 
wouldn't join the League, and wouldn't vote with his 
people, and still showed fight after we beat him half to 
death, so we put a levy of fifty dollars on his cabin, sold 
him out, and every piece of furniture and every rag of 
clothes we could get hold of. He'll leave the country 
now or we'll kill him next time." 

"You ought to 'a' killed him the first time and then 
the job would ha' been over." 

"Oh, we'll have the country in good shape in a little 
while, and don't you forget it." 

The news of the order of the military commandant of 
"District No. 2," comprising the Carolinas, abrogating 
the decision of the North Carolina Supreme Court 
forbidding the intermarriage of Negroes and whites, 
fell like a bombshell on Campbell County. The people 
had not believed that the military authorities would 
dare to go to the length of attempting to force social 
equality. 

This order from Charleston was not only explicit, its 
language was peculiarly emphatic. It apparently com- 
manded ■ intermarriage, and ordered the military 
to enforce the command at the point of the 
bayonet. 

The feelings of the people were wrought to the pitch 
of fury. It needed but a word from a daring leader, 
and a massacre of every Negro, scalawag and carpet- 
bagger in the county might have followed. The 
Reverend John Durham was busy day and night seeking 



148 The Leopard's Spots 

to allay excitement and prevent an uprising of the 
white population. 

Along with the announcement of this military order 
came the startling news that Simon Legree, whose 
infamy was known from end to end of the state, was to 
be the next Governor, and that the Honourable 
Tim Shelby was a candidate for Chief Justice of the 
Supreme Court. 

Legree was in Washington at the time on a mission 
to secure a stand of twenty thousand rifles from the 
Secretary of War, with which to arm the Negro troops 
he was drilling for the approaching election. The 
grant was made, and Legree came back in triumph with 
his rifles. 

Relief for the ruined people was now a hopeless dream. 
Black despair was clutching at every white man's heart. 
The taxpayers had held a convention and sent their 
representatives to Washington, exposing the monstrous 
thefts that were being committed under the authority 
of the government by the organised band of thieves 
who were looting the state. But the thieves were the 
pets of politicians high in power. The committee of 
taxpayers were insulted and sent home to pay their 
taxes. 

And then a thing happened in Hambright that brought 
matters to a sudden crisis. 

The Honourable Tim Shelby, as school commissioner, 
had printed the notices for an examination of school- 
teachers for Campbell County. An enormous tax had 
been levied and collected by the county for this purpose, 
but no school had been opened. Tim announced, how- 
ever, that the school would surely be opened the first 
Monday in October. 

Miss Mollie Graham, the pretty niece of the old 
doctor, was struggling to support a blind mother and 



The Rally of the Clansmen 149 

four younger children. Her father and brother had 
been killed in the war. Their house had been sold for 
taxes, and they were required now to pay Tim Shelby 
ten dollars a month for rent. When she saw the school 
notice her heart gave a leap. If she could only get the 
place it would save them from beggary. 

She fairly ran to the Preacher to get his advice. 

"Certainly, child, try for it. It's humiliating to ask 
such a favor of that black ape, but if you can save 
your loved ones, do it." 

So with trembling hand she knocked at Tim's door. 
He required all applicants to apply personally at his 
house. Tim met her with the bows and smirks of a 
dancing-master. 

"Delighted to see your pretty face this morning, 
Miss Graham," he cried, enthusiastically. 

The girl blushed and hesitated at the door. 

"Just walk right into the parlour; I'll join you in a 
moment." 

She bravely set her lip and entered. 

"And now what can I do for you, Miss Graham? " 

"I've come to apply for a teacher's place in the 
school." 

"Ah, indeed! I'm glad to know that. There is only 
one difficulty. You must be loyal. Your people were 
rebels, and the new government has determined to have 
only loyal teachers." 

"I think I'm loyal enough to the old flag now that 
our people have surrendered," said the girl. 

"Yes, yes, I dare say; but do you think you can 
accept the new regime of government and society which 
we are now establishing in the South? We have 
abolished the colour line. Would you have a mixed 
school if assigned one?" 

I think I'd prefer to teach a Negro school 



14 



150 The Leopard's Spots 

outright, to a mixed one," she said, after a moment's 
hesitation. 

Tim continued: "You know we are living in a new 
world. The supreme law of the land has broken down 
every barrier of race and we are henceforth to be one 
people. The struggle for existence knows no race or 
colour. It's a struggle now for bread. I'm in a posi- 
tion to be of great help to you and your family if you 
will only let me." 

The girl suddenly rose, impelled by some resistless 
instinct. 

"May I have the place then ? " she asked, approaching 
the door. 

"Well, now, you know it depends really altogether on 
my fancy. I'll tell you what I'll do. You're still full 
of silly prejudices. I can see that. But if you will over~ 
come them enough to do one thing for me as a test, 
that will cost you nothing and of which the world will 
never be the wiser, I'll give you the place, and more; I'll 
remit the ten dollars a month rent you're now paying. 
Will you do it?" 

"What is it?" the girl asked, with pale, quivering 
lips. 

"Let me kiss you — once! " he whispered. 

With a scream, she sprang past him out of the door, 
ran like a deer across the lawn, and fell sobbing in her 
mother's arms when she reached her home. 

The next day the town was unusually quiet. Tim 
had business with the Commandant of the company of 
regulars still quartered at Hambright. He spent most 
of the day with him, and walked about the streets 
ostentatiously showing his familiarity with the corporal 
who accompanied him. A guard of three soldiers was 
stationed around Tim's house for two nights and then 
withdrawn. 



The Rally of the Clansmen 151 

The next night at twelve o'clock two hundred white- 
robed horses assembled around the old home of Mrs. 
Gaston, where Tim was sleeping. The moon was full 
and flooded the lawn with silver glory. On those 
horses sat two hundred white-robed silent men whose 
close-fitting hood disguises looked like the mail helmets 
of ancient knights. 

It was the work of a moment to seize Tim and bind 
him across a horse's back. Slowly the grim procession 
moved to the court-house square. 

When the sun rose the next morning the lifeless body 
of Tim Shelby was dangling from a rope tied to the iron 
rail of the balcony of the court-house. His neck was 
broken and his body was hanging low — scarcely three 
feet from the ground. His thick lips had been split with 
a sharp knife, and from his teeth hung this placard: 

1 ' The answer of the A nglo-Saxon race to 
Negro lips that dare pollute with words the 
womanhood of the South. K. K. K." 

And the Ku Klux Klan was master of Campbell 
County. 

The origin of this Law and Order League, which 
sprang up like magic in a night and nullified the pro- 
gramme of Congress, though backed by an army of a 
million veteran soldiers, is yet a mystery. 

The simple truth is, it was a spontaneous and resist- 
less racial uprising of clansmen of highland origin living 
along the Appalachian Mountains and foothills of the 
South, and it appeared almost simultaneously in every 
Southern state, produced by the same terrible conditions. 

It was the answer to their foes of a proud and in- 
domitable race of men driven to the wall. In the hour 
of their defeat they laid down their arms and accepted 



u$2 The Leopard's Spots 

in good faith the results of the war. And then, when 
unarmed and defenseless, a group of pothouse politi- 
cians for political ends renewed the war and attempted 
to wipe out the civilisation of the South. 

This Invisible Empire of White Robed Anglo-Saxon 
Knights was simply the old answer of organised man- 
hood to organised crime. Its purpose was to bring 
order out of chaos, protect the weak and defenseless, 
the widows and orphans of brave men who had died 
for their country, to drive from power the thieves who 
were robbing the people, redeem the commonwealth 
from infamy, and reestablish civilisation. 

Within one week from its appearance, life and 
property were as safe as in any Northern community, 

When the Negroes came home from their League 
meeting one night they ran terror-stricken past long 
rows of white horsemen. Not a word was spoken, 
but that was the last meeting the "Union League of 
America" ever held in Hambright. 

Every Negro found guilty of a misdemeanor was 
promptly thrashed and warned against its recurrence. 
The sudden appearance of this host of white cavalry 
grasping at their throats with the grip of cold steel 
struck the heart of Legree and his followers with the 
chill of a deadly fear. 

It meant inevitable ruin, overthrow, and a prison cell 
for the "loyal" statesmen who were with him in his 
efforts to maintain the new "republican form of govern- 
ment" in North Carolina. 

At the approaching election, this white terror could 
intimidate every Negro in the state unless he could arm 
them all, suspend the writ of Habeas Corpus, and place 
every county under the strictest martial law. 

Washington was besieged by a terrified army of the 
"loyal," who saw their occupation threatened. They 



The Rally of the Clansmen 155. 

begged for more troops, more guns for Negro militia, 
and for the reestablishment of universal martial law 
until the votes were properly counted. 

But the great statesmen laughed them to scorn as a 
set of weak cowards and fools frightened by Negro stories 
of ghosts. It was incredible to them that the crushed, 
poverty-stricken and unarmed South could dare chal- 
lenge the power of the National Government. They 
were sent back with scant comfort. 

The night that Ezra Perkins and Haley got back 
from Washington, where they had gone summoned by 
Legree and Hogg to testify to the death of Tim Shelby, 
they saw a sight that made their souls quake. 

At ten o'clock the Ku Klux Klan held a formal 
parade through the streets of Hambright. How the 
news was circulated nobody knew, but it seemed every- 
body in the county knew of it. The streets were lined 
with thousands of people who had poured into town 
that afternoon. 

At exactly ten o'clock a bugle call was heard on the 
hill to the west of the town, and the muffled tread of 
soft-shod horses came faintly on their ears. Women 
stood on the sidewalks, holding their babies and 
smiling, and children were laughing and playing in 
the streets. 

They rode four abreast in perfect order slowly through 
the town. It was utterly impossible to recognise a man 
or a horse, so complete was the simple disguise of the 
white sheet which blanketed the horse, fitting closely 
over his head and ears and falling gracefully over his 
form toward the ground. 

No citizen of Hambright was in the procession. They 
were in the streets watching it pass. There were fifteen 
hundred men in line. But the reports next day all 
agreed in fixing the number at more than five thousand. 



154 The Leopard's Spots 

Perkins and Haley had watched it from a darkened 
room. 

"Brother Haley, that's the end! Lord, I wish I was 
back in Michigan, jail er no jail," said Perkins, mopping 
the perspiration from his brow. 

"We'll have ter dig out purty quick, I reckon," 
answered Haley. 

"And to think them fools at Washington laughed at 
us !" cried Perkins, clenching his fists. 

And that night mothers and fathers gathered their 
children to bed with a sense of grateful security they 
had not felt through years of war and turmoil. 



CHAPTER XX 
HOW CIVILISATION WAS SAVED 

THE success of the Ku Klux Klan was so com- 
plete its organisers were dazed. Its appeal to 
the ignorance and superstition of the Negro at 
once reduced the race to obedience and order. Its 
threat against the scalawag and carpet-bagger struck 
terror to their craven souls, and the "Union League," 
" Red Strings" and " Heroes of America" went to pieces 
with incredible rapidity. 

Major Stuart Dameron, the chief of the Klan in 
Campbell County, was holding a conference with the 
Reverend John Durham in his study. 

"Doctor, our work has succeeded beyond our wildest 
dream." 

'Yes, and I thank God we can breathe freely if 
only for a moment, Major. The danger now lies in 
our success. We are necessarily playing with fire." 

" I know it, and it requires my time day and night to 
prevent reckless men from disgracing us." 

"It will not be necessary to enforce the death penalty 
against any other man in this county, Major. The 
execution of Tim Shelby was absolutely necessary at 
the time, and it has been sufficient." 

" I agree with you. I've impressed this on the master 
of every lodge, but some of them are growing reckless." 

"Who are they? " 

"Young Allan McLeod for one. He is a daredevil, 
and only eighteen years old. 

*55 



156 The Leopard's Spots 

"He's a troublesome boy. I don't seem to have any 
influence with him. But I think Mrs. Durham can 
manage him. He seems to think a great deal of her, 
and in spite of his wild habits he comes regularly to 
her Sunday-school class." 

"I hope she can bring him to his senses." 

"Leave him to me then awhile. We will see what 
can be done." 

• ••••• • 

Hogg's Legislature promptly declared the Scotch-Irish 
hill counties in a state of insurrection, passed a militia 
bill, and the Governor issued a proclamation suspending 
the writ of Habeas Corpus in these counties. 

Fearing the effects of Negro militia in the hill districts, 
he surprised Hambright by suddenly marching into the 
court-house square a regiment of white mountain guer- 
rillas recruited from the outlaws of East Tennessee and 
commanded by a noted desperado, Colonel Henry 
Berry. The regiment had two pieces of field artillery. 

It was impossible for them to secure evidence against 
any member of the Klan unless by the intimidation of 
■some coward who could be made to confess. Not a dis- 
guise had ever been penetrated. It was the rule of the 
order for its decrees to be executed in the district issuing 
the decree by the lodge farthest removed in the county 
from the scene. In this way not a man or a horse was 
ever identified. 

The Colonel made an easy solution of this difficulty, 
however. Acting under instructions from Governor 
Hogg, he secured from Haley and Perkins a list of every 
influential man in every precinct in the county, and a 
list of possible turncoats and cowards. He detailed 
five hundred of his men to make arrests, distributed them 
thoroughout the county, and arrested without warrants 
more than two hundred citizens in one day. 



How Civilisation Was Saved 157 

The next day Berry handcuffed together the Reverend 
John Durham and Major Dameron, and led them, 
escorted by a company of cavalry, on a grand circuit 
of the county, that the people might be terrified by 
the sight of their chains. An ominous silence greeted 
them on every hand. Additional arrests were made 
by this troop, and twenty-five more prisoners were 
led into Hambright the next day. 

The jail was crowded, and the court-house was used 
as a jail. More than a hundred and fifty men were 
confined in the court-room. Reverend John Durham 
was everywhere among the crowd, laughing, joking 
and cheering the men. 

"Major Dameron, a jail never held so many honest 
men before," he said with a smile, as he looked over 
the crowd of his church members gathered from every 
quarter of the county. 

"Well, Doctor, you've got a quorum here of your 
church and you can call them to order for business." 

"That's a fact, isn't it?" 

"There's old Deacon Kline over there, who looks- 
like he wishes he hadn't come." 

The Preacher walked over to the Deacon. 

"What's the matter, Brother Kline; you look 
pensive?" 

The Deacon laughed. "Yes, I don't like my bed. 
I'm used to feathers." 

"Well, they say they are going to give you feathers 
mixed with tar, so you won't lose them so easily." 

"I'll have company, I reckon," said the Deacon, 
with a wink. 

"The funny thing, Deacon, is that Major Dameron 
tells me there isn't a man in all the crowd of two hundred 
and fifty arrested who ever went on a raid. It's too bad 
you old fellows have to pay for the follies of youth.'* 



158 The Leopard's Spots 

"It is tough. But we can stand it, Preacher." 
They clasped hands. 

"Haven't smelled a coward anywhere, have you, 
Deacon? " 

"I've seen one or two a little fidgety, I thought. 
Cheer 'em up with a word, Preacher." 

Springing on the platform of the judge's desk, he 
looked over the crowd for a moment, and a cheer shook 
the building. 

"Boys, I don't believe there's a single coward in our 
ranks." Another cheer. 

"Just keep cool now and let our enemies do the talk- 
ing. In ten days every man of you will be back at 
home at his work." 

"How will we get out with the writ suspended?" 
asked the man standing near. 

"That's the richest thing of all. A United States judge 
has just decided that the Governor of the state cannot 
suspend the rights of a citizen of the United States 
under the new Fourteenth Amendment to the Consti- 
tution so recently rammed down our throats. Hogg is 
hoisted on his own petard. Our lawyers are now serving 
out writs of Habeas Corpus before this Federal judge 
under the Fourteenth Amendment, and you will be dis- 
charged in less than ten days unless there's a skunk 
among you. And I don't smell one anywhere." Again 
a cheer shook the building. 

An orderly walked up to the Preacher and handed 
him a note. 

"What is it?" 

"Read it!" The men crowded around. 

"Read it, Major Dameron; I'm dumb!" said the 
Preacher. 

"A military order from the dirty rascal, Berry, 
commanding the mountain bummers, forbidding the 



How Civilisation Was Saved 159 

Reverend John Durham to speak during his imprison- 
ment." 

A roar of laughter followed this announcement. 

"That's cruel. It'll kill him!" cried Deacon Kline, 
as he jabbed the Preacher in the ribs. 

In a few minutes the Preacher was back in his place 
with five of the best singers from his church by his side. 
He began to sing the old hymns of Zion and every man 
in the room joined until the building quivered with 
melody. 

''Now a good old Yankee hymn that suits this hour, 
written by an old Baptist preacher I met in Boston the 
other day," cried the Preacher. 

"My country 'tis of thee, 
Sweet land of liberty, 
Of thee I sing." 

Heavens, how they sang it, while the Preacher lined 
it off, stood above them beating time, and led in a 
clear, mighty voice ! Again the orderly appeared with 
a note. 

"What is it now?" they cried on every side. 

Again Major Dameron announced "Military Order 
No. 2, forbidding the Reverend John Durham to sing or 
induce anybody to sing while in prison." 

Another roar of laughter that broke into a cheer 
which made the glass rattle. When the soldier had 
disappeared, the Reverend John Durham ascended the 
platform, looked about him with a humourous twinkle 
in his eye, straightened himself to his full height and 
crowed like a rooster! A cheer shook the building 
to its foundations. Roar after roar of its defiant cadence 
swept across the square and made Haley and Perkins 
tremble as they looked at each other over their con- 
ference table with Berry. 



160 The Leopard's Spots 

"What the devil's the matter now?" cried Haley. 

"Do you suppose it's a rescue?" whispered Perkins. 

"No, it's some new trick of that damned Preacher. 
I'll chain him in a room to himself," growled Berry. 

"Better not, Colonel. He's the pet of these white 
devils. Ye'd better let him alone." Berry accepted 
the advice. 

Five days later the prisoners were arraigned before 
the United States judge, Preston Rivers, at Independ- 
ence. Not a scrap of evidence could be produced 
against them. Governor Hogg was present with a 
flaming military escort. He held a stormy interview 
with Judge Rivers. 

"If you discharge these prisoners you destroy the 
government of this state, sir ! " thundered Hogg. 

"Are they not citizens of the United States? Does 
not the Fourteenth Amendment apply to a white man 
as well as a Negro? " quietly asked the Judge. 

"Yes, but they are conspirators against the Union. 
They are murderers and felons." 

"Then prove it in my court and I'll hand them 
back to you. They are entitled to a trial, under our 
Constitution." 

"I'll demand your removal by the President," 
shouted Hogg. 

"Get out of this room, or I'll remove you with the 
point of my boot ! " growled the Judge, with rising 
wrath. "You have suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus 
to win a political campaign. The Ku Klux Klan has 
broken up your Leagues. You are fighting for your 
life. But I'll tell you now, you can't suspend the 
Constitution of the United States while I'm a Federal 
judge in this state. I'm not a henchman of yours to do 
your dirty campaign work. The election is but ten days 
off. Your scheme is plain enough. But if you want 



How Civilisation Was Saved 161 

to keep these men in prison it will be done on sworn 
evidence of guilt and a warrant, not on your personal 
whim." 

The Governor cursed, raved and threatened in vain. 
Judge Rivers discharged every prisoner and warned 
Colonel Berry against the repetition of such arrests 
within his jurisdiction. 

When these prisoners were discharged, a great mass- 
meeting was called to give them a reception in the 
public square of Independence. A platform was hastily 
built in the square, and that night five thousand excited 
people crowded past the stand, shook hands with the 
men and cheered till they were hoarse. The Governor 
watched the demonstration in helpless fury from his 
room in the hotel. 

The speaking began at nine o'clock. Every discord- 
ant element of the old South 's furious political passions 
was now melted into harmonious unity. Whig and 
Democrat, who had fought one another with relentless 
hatred, sat side by side on that platform. Secessionist 
and Unionist now clasped hands. It was a White 
Man's Party, and against it stood in solid array the 
Black Man's Party, led by Simon Legree. 

Henceforth there could be but one issue — Are you a 
White Man or a Negro? 

They declared there was but one question to be 
settled : 

" Sliall the future American be an Anglo-Saxon or a 
Mulatto? " 

These determined, impassioned men believed that 
this question was more important than any theory of 
tariff or finance, and that it was larger than the 
South or even the nation, and held in its solution the 
brightest hopes of the progress of the human race. 
And they believed that they were ordained of 



1 62 The Leopard's Spots 

God in this crisis to give this question its first authori- 
tative answer. 

The state burst into a flame of excitement that fused 
in its white heat the whole Anglo-Saxon race. 

In vain Hogg marched and countermarched his 
twenty thousand state troops. They only added fuel to 
the fire. If they arrested a man, he became forthwith a 
hero and was given an ovation. They sent bands of 
music and played at the jail doors, and the ladies filled 
the jail with every delicacy that could tempt the appetite 
or appeal to the senses. 

Hogg and Legree were in a panic of fear with the 
certainty of defeat, exposure and a felon's cell yawning 
before them. 

Two days before the election the prayer-meeting 
was held at eight o'clock in the Baptist church at 
Hambright. It was the usual midweek service, but the 
attendance was unusually large. 

After the meeting the Preacher, Major Damercn 
and eleven men quietly walked back to the church and 
assembled in the pastor's study. The door opened 
at the rear of the church, and could be approached by 
a side street. 

"Gentlemen," said Major Dameron, "I've asked you 
here to-night to deliver to you the most important order 
I have ever given, and to have Doctor Durham as our 
chaplain to aid me in impressing on you its great 
urgency/' 

"We're ready for orders, Chief," said young Ambrose 
Kline, the Deacon's son. 

"You are to call out every troop of the Klan in full 
force the night before election. You are to visit every 
Negro in the county and warn every one, as he values 
his life, not to approach the polls at this election. Those 
who come will be allowed to vote without molestation* 



How Civilisation Was Saved 163 

All cowards will stay at home. Any man, black or 
white, who can be scared out of his ballot is not fit to 
have one. Back of every ballot is the red blood of the 
man that votes. The ballot is force. This is simply a 
test of manhood. It will be enough to show who is fit 
to rule the state. As the masters of the eleven town- 
ship lodges of the Klan, you are the sole guardians of 
society to-day. When a civilised government has been 
restored your work will be done.'' 

44 We will do it, sir! " cried Kline. 

"Let me say, men," said the Preacher, "that I 
heartily indorse the plan of }~our chief. See that the 
work is done thoroughly and it will be done for all 
time. In a sense this is fraud, but it is the fraud of 
war. The spy is a fraud, but we must use him when 
we fight. Is war justifiable ? 

"It is too late now for us to discuss that question. 
We are in a war the most ghastly and helhsh ever 
waged — a war on women and children, the starving 
and the wounded, and that with sharpened swords. 
The Turk and Saracen once waged such a war. We 
must face it and fight it out. Shall we flinch ?" 

"No! No! " came the passionate answer from every 
man. 

"You are asked to violate for a moment a statutory 
law. There is a higher law. You are the sworn officers 
of that higher law." 

The group of leaders left the church with enthusiasm, 
and on the following night they carried out their 
instructions to the letter. 

The election was remarkably quiet. Thousands of 
soldiers were used at the polls by Hogg's orders. But 
they seemed to make no impression on the determined 
men who marched up between their files and put the 
ballots in the box. 



164 The Leopard's Spots 

Legree's ticket was buried beneath an avalanche. 
The new "Conservative" party carried every county 
in the state save twelve, and elected one hundred and 
six members of the new Legislature out of a total of one 
hundred and twenty. 

The next day hundreds of carpet-bagger thieves fled 
to the North, and Legree led the procession. 

Legree had on deposit in New York two millions of 
dollars, and the total amount of his part of the thefts 
he had engineered reached five millions. He opened 
an office on Wall Street, bought a seat in the Stock 
Exchange, and became one of the most daring and 
successful of a group of robbers who preyed on the 
industries of the nation. 

The new Legislature appointed a fraud commission 
which uncovered the infamies of the Legree regime, but 
every thief had escaped. They promptly impeached 
the Governor and removed him from office, and the 
old commonwealth once more lifted up her head and 
took her place in the ranks of civilised communities. 



CHAPTER XXI 
THE OLD AND THE NEW NEGRO 

NELSE was elated over the defeat and dissolution 
of the Leagues that had persecuted him with 
such malignant hatred. When the news of the 
election came he was still in bed suffering from his 
wounds. He had received an internal injury that 
threatened to prove fatal. 

"Dar now!" he cried, sitting up in bed. "Ain't I 
done tole you no kinky-headed niggers gwine ter run 
dis gov'ment." 

"Keep still, dar, ole man; you'll be faintin' ergin," 
worried Aunt Eve. 

"Na, honey; I'se feelin' better. Gwine ter git up and 
meander downtown en ax dem niggers how's de Ku 
Kluxes comin' on dese days." 

In spite of all Eve could say, he crawled out of bed, 
fumbled in his clothes, and started downtown, leaning 
heavily on his cane. He had gone about a block when 
he suddenly reeled and fell. Eve was watching him 
from the door and was quickly by his side. He died 
that afternoon at three o'clock. He regained conscious- 
ness before the end and asked Eve for his banjo. 

He put it lovingly into the hands of Charlie Gaston, 
who stood by the bed crying. 

11 You keep 'er, honey. You lub 'er talk better 'n any- 
body in de worl', en 'member Nelse when you hear 'er 
moan an* sigh. En when she talk short en sassy en 

165 



1 66 The Leopard's Spots 

make 'em all gin ter shuffle, dat's me, too. Dat's me 
got back in 'er. M 

Charlie Gaston rode with Aunt Eve to the cemetery. 
He walked back home throrch the fields with Dick. 

"I wouldn' cry 'bout er ole nigger ! " said Dick, look- 
ing into his reddened eyes. 

"Can't help it. He was my best friend." 

"Hain't I wid you?" 

"Yes, but you ain't Nelse." 

"Well, I stan' by you des de same." 



CHAPTER XXII 
THE DANGER OF PLAYKNG WlfH FIRE 

THE following Saturday the Reverend John 
Durham preached at a cross-roads schoolhouse 
in the woods about ten miles from Hambright. 
He preached every Saturday in the year at such a mis- 
sion station. He was fond of taking Charlie with him 
on these trips. There was an unusually large crowd in 
attendance, and the Preacher was much pleased at this 
evidence of interest. It had been a hard community 
to impress. At the close of the services, while the 
Preacher was shaking hands with the people, Charlie 
elbowed his way rapidly among the throng to his side. 

"Doctor, there's a nigger man out at the buggy says 
he wants to see you quick," he whispered. 

"All right, Charlie; in a minute." 

"Says to come right now. It's a matter of life and 
death, and he don't want to come into the crowd." 

A troubled look flashed over the Preacher's face and 
he hastily followed the boy, fearing now a sinister 
meaning to his great crowd. 

"Preacher," said the Negro, looking timidly around, 
"de Ku Klux is gwine ter kill ole Uncle Rufus Latti- 
more ter-night. I come ter see ef you can't save him. 
He aint done nuthin' in God's worl' 'cept he wouldn' 
pull his waggin clear outen de road one day fur dat red* 
headed Allan McLeod ter pass, en he cussed 'im black 
and blue en tole 'im he gwine git eben wid 'im." 

"How do you know this? " 

167 



1 68 The Leopard's Spots 

"I wuz huntin' in de woods en hear a racket en clim* 
er tree. En de Ku Kluxes had der meetin' right under 
de tree. En I hear ev'ry word." 

"Who was leading the crowd?" 

"Dat Allan McLeod en Hose Norman." 

"Where are they going to meet?" 

"Right at de cross-roads here at de schoolhouse at 
midnight. Dey sont er man atter plenty er licker en 
'ley gwine ter git drunk fust. I was erfeered ter come 
ter de meetin * case I see er lot er de boys in de crowd. 
Fur de Lawd sake, Preacher, do save de ole man. He 
des es harmless ez er chile. En I'm gwine ter marry 
his gal, en she des plum crazy. We'se got five men 
ter fight fur 'im, but I spec dey kill 'em all ef you can't 
he'p us." 

"Are you one of General Worth's Negroes? " 

"Yassir. I run erway up here, 'bout dat Free'men's 
Bureau trick dey put me up ter, but I'se larned better 
sense now. ' ' 

"Well, Sam, you go to Uncle Rufus and tell him not 
to be afraid. I'll stop this business before night." 

The Negro stepped into the woods and disappeared. 

"Charlie, we must hurry," said the Preacher, springing 
in his buggy. He was driving a beautiful bay mare, a 
gift from a Kentucky friend. Her sleek, glistening 
skin and big round veins showed her fine blood. 

"Well, Nancy, it's your life now or a man's, or 
maybe a dozen. You must take us to Hambright in 
fifty minutes over these rough hills ! " cried the 
Preacher. And he gave her the reins. 

The mare bounded forward with a rush that sent four 
spinning circles of sand and dust from each wheel. 
She had seldom felt the lines slacken across her beautiful 
back except in some great emergency. She swung 
past buggies and wagons without a pause. The people 



The Danger of Playing with Fire 169 

wondered why the Preacher was in such a hurry. Over 
long sand stretches of heavy road the mare flew in a 
cloud of dust. The Preacher's lips were, firmly set 
and a scowl on his brow. They had made five miles 
without slacking up. 

The mare was now a mass of white foam, her big- 
veined nostrils wide open and quivering, and her eyes 
flashing with the fire of proud ancestry. The slackened 
lines on her back seemed to her an insufferable insult. 

"Doctor, you'll kill Nancy!" pleaded Charlie. 

"Can't help it, son; there's a lot of drunken devils, 
masquerading as Ku Klux, going to kill a man to-night. 
If we can't reach Major Dameron's in time for him to 
get a lot of men and stop them there'll be a terrible 
tragedy." 

On the mare flew, lifting her proud, sensitive head 
higher and higher, while her heart beat her foaming 
flanks like a trip-hammer. She never slackened her 
speed for ten miles, but dashed up to Major Dameron's 
gate at sundown, just forty-nine minutes from the time 
she started. The Preacher patted her dripping neck. 

" Good, Nancy, good ! I believe you've got a soul." 

She stood with her head still high, pawing the ground. 

" Major Dameron, I've driven my, mare here at a 
killing speed to tell you that young McLeod and Hose 
Norman have a crowd of desperadoes organised to kill 
old Rufus Lattimore to-night. You must get enough 
men together and get there in time to stop them. 
Sam Worth overheard their plot, knows every one of 
them, and there will be a battle if they attempt it." 

"My God!" exclaimed the Major. 

"You haven't a minute to spare. They are already 
loading up on moonshine whisky." 

"Doctor Durham, this is the end of the Ku Klux 
Klan in this county. I'll break up every lodge in the 



170 The Leopard's Spots 

next forty-eight hours. It's too easy for vicious men 
to abuse it. Its power is too great. Besides, its work 
is done." 

11 1 was just going to ask you to take that step, Major. 
And now, for God's sake, get there in time to-night. 
I'd go with you, but my mare can't stand it." 

"I'll be there on time — never fear," replied the 
Major, springing on his horse, already saddled at the 
door. 

The Preacher drove slowly to his home, the mare 
pulling steadily on her lines. She walked proudly into 
her stable lot, her head high and fine eyes flashing, 
reeled and fell dead in the shafts. The Preacher 
couldn't keep back the tears. He called Dick and 
left him and Charlie the sorrowful task of taking off 
her harness. He hurried into the house and shut 
himself up in his study. 

That night when the crowd of young toughs assembled 
at their rendezvous it was barely ten o'clock. 

Suddenly a pistol shot rang from behind the school- 
house, and before McLeod and his crowd knew what 
had happened fifty white horsemen wheeled into a 
circle about them. They were completely surprised 
and cowed. 

Major Dameron rode up to McLeod. 

"Young man, you are the prisoner of the Chief of the 
Ku Klux Klan of Campbell County. Lift your hand 
now and I'll hang you in five minutes. You have 
forfeited your life by disobedience to my orders. You go 
back to Hambright with me under guard. Whether I 
execute you depends on the outcome of the next two 
days' conferences with the chiefs of the township lodges." 

The Major wheeled his horse and rode home. The 
next day he ordered every one of the eleven township 
chiefs to report in person to him, at different hours the 



The Danger of Playing with Fire 171 

same day. To each one his message was the same. 
He dissolved the order and issued a perpetual injunc- 
tion against any division of the Klan ever going on 
another raid. 

There were only a few who could see the wisdom of 
such hasty action. The success had been so marvellous, 
their power so absolute, it seemed a pity to throw it all 
away. Young Kline especially begged the Major to 
postpone his action. 

11 It's impossible, Kline. The Klan has done its work. 
The carpet-baggers have fled. The state is redeemed 
from the infamies of a Negro government, and we have 
a clean, economical administration, and we can keep it 
so as long as the white people are a unit, without any 
secret societies." 

"But, Major, we may be needed again." 

"I can't assume the responsibility any longer. The 
thing is getting beyond my control. The order is full of 
wild youngsters and revengeful men. They try to 
bring their grudges against neighbours into the order, 
and when I refuse to authorise a raid they take their 
disguises and go without authority. An archangel 
couldn't command such a force." 

Within two weeks from the dissolution of the Klan 
by its Chief, every lodge had bee'i reorganised. Some 
of the older men had dropped out, but more young men 
were initiated to take their places. Allan McLeod led 
in this work of prompt reorganisation, and was elected 
Chief of the county by the younger element, which now 
had a large majority. 

He at once served notice on Major Dameron, the 
former Chief, that if he dared to interfere with his work, 
even by opening his mouth in criticism, he would order 
a raid and thrash him. 

When the Major found this note under his*door one 



172 The Leopard's Spots 

morning, he read and reread it with increasing wrath. 
Springing on his horse, he went in search of McLeod. 
He saw him leisurely crossing the street going from the 
hotel to the court-house. 

Throwing his horse's rein to a passing boy, he walked 
rapidly to him and, without a word, boxed his ears as 
a father would an impudent child. McLeod was so 
astonished, he hesitated for a moment whether to 
strike or to run. He did neither, but blushed red and 
stammered : 

"What do you mean, sir?" 

"Read that letter, you young whelp!" The Major 
thrust the letter into his hand. 

"I know nothing of this." 

"You're a liar. You are its author. No other fool 
in this county would have conceived it. Now, let me 
give you a little notice. I am prepared for you and 
your crowd. Call any time. I can whip a hundred 
puppies of your breed any time by myself with one 
hand tied behind me, and never get a scratch. Dare to 
lift your finger against me, or any of the men who refuse 
to go with your new fool's movement, and I'll shoot 
you on sight as I would a mad dog." Before McLeod 
could reply, the Major turned on his heels and left him. 

McLeod made no further attempt to molest the 
Major, nor did he allow any raids bent on murder. The 
sudden authority placed in his hands in a measure 
sobered him. He inaugurated a series of petty devil- 
tries, whipping Negroes and poor white men against 
whom some of his crowd had a grudge, and annoying 
the school-teachers of Negro schools. 



CHAPTER XXIII 
THE BIRTH OF A SCALAWAG 

THE overwhelming defeat of their pets in the 
South, and the toppling of their houses of paper 
built on Negro supremacy, brought to Congress 
a sense of guilt and shame that required action. Their 
own agents in the South were now in the penitentiary 
or in exile for well-established felonies, and the future 
looked dark. 

They found the scapegoat in these fool later day 
Ku Klux marauders. Once more the public square at 
Hambright saw the bivouac of the regular troops of 
the United States Army. The Preacher saw the glint 
of their bayonets with a sense of relief. 

With this army came a corps of skilled detectives, 
who set to work. All that was necessary was to arrest 
and threaten with summary death a coward, and they 
got all the information he could give. The jail was 
choked with prisoners, and every day saw a squad depart 
for the stockade at Independence. Sam Worth gave 
information that led to the immediate arrest of Allan 
McLeod. He was the first man led into the jail. 

The officers had a long conference with him that 
lasted four hours. 

And then the bottom fell out — a wild stampede of 
young men for the West. Somebody who held the 
names of every man in the order had proved a traitor. 

Every night from hundreds of humble homes might 
be heard the choking sobs of a mother saying good-by 

173 



174 The Leopard's Spots 

in the darkness to the last boy the war had left her old 
age. When the good-by was said, and the father, 
waiting in the buggy at the gate, had called for haste, 
and the boy was hurrying out with his gripsack, there 
was a moan, the soft rush of the coarse homespun 
drees toward the gate, and her arms were around 
his neck again. 

"I can't let you go, child. Lord have mercy! He's 
the last." And the low, pitiful sobs! 

"Come, come, now, Ma, we must get away from 
here before the officers are after him." 

"Just a minute ! " 

A kiss, and then another, long and lingering. A sigh, 
a smothered cry from a mother's broken heart, and 
he was gone. 

Thus Texas grew into the Imperial Commonwealth 
of the South. 

• •••••• 

To save appearances, McLeod was removed to Inde- 
pendence with the other prisoners, and in a short 
time released with a number of others against whom 
insignificant charges were lodged. 

When he returned to Hambright the people looked 
at him with suspicion. 

"How is it, young man," asked the Preacher, "that 
you are at home so soon, while brave boys are serving 
terms in Northern prisons?" 

"Had nothing against me/' he replied. 

"That's strange, when Sam Worth swore that you 
organised the raid to kill Rufe Lattimore." 

"They didn't believe him." 

"Well, I've an idea that you saved your hide by 
puking. I'm not sure yet, but information was given 
that only the man in command of the whole county 
could have possessed." 



The Birth of a Scalawag 175 

"There were a half -dozen men who knew as much 
as I did. You mustn't think me capable of such a 
thing, Doctor Durham ! " protested McLeod, with 
heightened colour. 

"It's a nasty suspicion. I'd rather see a child of 
mine transformed into a cur dog and killed for stealing 
sheep than fall to the level of such a man. But only 
time will prove the issue." 

"I've made up my mind to turn over a new leaf," 
said McLeod. "I'm sick of rowdyism. I'm going to 
be a law-abiding, loyal citizen." 

"That's just what I'm afraid of!" exclaimed the 
Preacher with a sneer, as he turned and left him. 

And fears were soon confirmed. Within a month 
the Independence Observer contained a despatch from 
Washington announcing the appointment of Allan 
McLeod as Deputy United States Marshal for the District 
of Western North Carolina, together with the infor- 
mation that he had renounced his allegiance to his old 
disloyal associates and had become an enthusiastic 
Republican; and that henceforth he would labour with 
might and main to establish peace and further the 
industrial progress of the South. 

"I knew it. The dirty whelp ! " cried the Preacher, 
as he showed the paper to his wife. 

" Now don't be too hard on the boy, Doctor Durham," 
urged his wife. "He may be sincere in his change of 
politics. You never did like him." 

"Sincere! Yes, as the devil is always sincere. He's 
dead in earnest now. He's found his level, and his 
success is sure. Mark my words, the boy's a villain 
from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. He 
has bartered his soul to save his skin, and the skin is 
all that's left." 

"I'm sorry to think it. I couldn't help liking him." 



176 The Leopard's Spots 

"And that's the f tinniest freak I ever knew your 
fancy to take, my dear — I never could understand it." 

When McLeod had established his office in Hambright, 
he made special efforts to allay the suspicions against 
his name. His indignant denials of the report of his 
treachery convinced many that he had been wronged. 
Two men alone maintained toward him an attitude of 
contempt, Major Darneron and the Preacher. 

He called on Mrs. Durham, and with his smooth 
tongue convinced her that he had been foully slandered. 
She urged him to win the Doctor. Accordingly he 
called to talk the question over with the Preacher and 
ask him for a fair chance to build his character untar- 
nished in the community. 

The Preacher heard him through patiently, but in 
silence. Allan was perspiring before he reached the end 
of his plausible explanation. It was a tougher task 
than he thought, this deliberate lying, under the gaze 
of those glowing black eyes that looked out from their 
shaggy brows and pierced through his inmost soul. 

"You've got an oily tongue. It will carry you a long 
way in this world. I can't help admiring the skill 
with which you are fast learning to use it. You've 
fooled Mrs. Durham with it, but you can't fool me," 
said the Preacher. 

" Doctor, I solemnly swear to you that I am not 
guilty." 

"It's no use to add perjury to plain lying. I know 
you did it. I know it as well as if I were present in 
that jail and heard you basely betray the men, name 
by name, whom you had lured to their ruin." 

"Doctor, I swear you are mistaken." 

"Don't talk about it. You nauseate me!" 

The Preacher sprang to his feet, paced across the 
floor, sat down on the edge of his table and glared at 



The Birth of a Scalawag 177 

McLeod for a moment. And then with his voice low 
and quivering with a storm of emotion he said: 

"The curse of God upon you — the God of your 
fathers ! Your fathers in far off Scotland's hills, who 
would have suffered their tongues torn from their heads 
and their skin stripped inch by inch from their flesh 
sooner than betray one of their clan in distress. You 
have betrayed a thousand of your own men, and you 
their sworn chieftain. Hell was made to consume 
such leper trash I" 

McLeod was dazed at first by this outburst. At 
length he sprang to his feet, livid with rage. 

"Ill not forget this, sir! " he hissed. 

"Don't forget it!" cried the Preacher, trembling 
with passion as he opened the door. "Go on and live 
your lie." 



CHAPTER XXIV 
A MODERN MIRACLE 

MRS. DURHAM, the Doctor wants you," said 
Charlie, when McLeod's footfall had died 
away. 

"Charlie, dear, why don't you call me 'Mamma' — 
surely you love me a little wee bit, don't you?" she 
asked, taking the boy's hand tenderly in hers. 

"Yes'm," he replied, hanging his head. 

"Then you say Mamma. You don't know how good 
it would be in my ears." 

"I try to, but it chokes me," he half whispered, 
glancing timidly up at her. "Let me call you Aunt 
Margaret. I always wanted an aunt, and I think your 
name Margaret's so sweet," he shyly added. 

She kissed him and said, "All right, if that's all you 
will give me." She passed on into the library where 
the Preacher waited her. 

"My dear, I've just given young McLeod a piece of 
my mind. I wanted to say to you that you are entirely 
mistaken in his character. He's a bad egg. I know all 
the facts about his treachery. He's as smooth a liar 
as I've met in years." 

"With all his brute nature, there's some good in 
him," she persisted. 

"Well, it will stay in him. He will never let it 
get out." 

"All right, have your way about it for a time. 

178 



A Modern Miracle 179 

We'll see who is right in the long run. Now I've a 
more pressing and tougher problem for your solution." 

"What is it?" 

"Dick." 

"What's he done this time? " 

"He steals everything lie can get his hands on." 

"He is a puzzle." 

"He's the greatest liar I ever saw," she continued. 
"He simply will not tell the truth if he can think up 
a lie in time. I'd say run him off the place but for 
Charlie. He seems to love the little scoundrel. I'm 
afraid his influence over Charlie will be vicious, but it 
would break the child's heart to drive him away. 
What shall we do with him? " 

The Preacher laughed. "I give it up, my dear; you've 
got beyond my depth now. I don't know whether he's 
got a soul. Certainly the very rudimentary foundations 
of morals seem lacking. I believe you could take a 
young ape and teach him quicker. I leave him with 
you. At present it's a domestic problem." 

"Thanks; that's so encouraging." 

Dick was a puzzle and no mistake about it. But to 
Charlie his rolling, mischievous eyes, his cunning fingers 
and his wayward imagination were unfailing fountains 
of life. He found every bird's nest within two miles of 
town. He could track a rabbit almost as swiftly and 
surely as a hound. He could work like fury when he 
had a mind to, and loaf a half day over one row of the 
garden when he didn't want to work, which was his 
chronic condition. 

When the revival season set in for the Negroes in 
the summer, the days of sorrow began for householders. 
Every Negro in the community became absolutely 
worthless and remained so until the emotional insanity 
attending their meetings wore off. 



180 The Leopard's Spots 

Aunt Mary, Mrs. Durham's cook, got salvation over 
again every summer with increasing power and increas- 
ing degeneration in her work. Some nights she got 
home at two o'clock and breakfast was not ready until 
nine. Some nights she didn't get home at all and Mrs. 
Durham had to get breakfast herself. 

It was a hard time for Dick, who had not yet experi- 
enced religion, and on whom fell the brunt of the extra 
work and Mrs. Durham's fretfulness besides. 

"I tell you what less do, Charlie," he cried one day. 
"Less go down ter dat nigger chu'ch en bus' up de 
meetin' ! I'se gettin' tired er dis." 

"How'll you do it?" 

"I show you somefin'?" He reached under his 
shirt next to his skin and pulled out Doctor Graham's 
sun glass. 
| "Where'd you get that, Dick?" 

" Foun' it whar er man lef it." He walled his eyes 
solemnly. 

"Des watch here when I turns 'im in de sun. I kin 
set dat pile of straw er fire wid it." 

"You mustn't set the church afire ! " warned Charlie. 

"Naw, chile; but I git up in de gallery, en when ole 
Uncle Josh 'gins ter holler en bawl en r'ar en charge, I 
fling dat blaze er light right on his bal' haid, en I set him 
er fire sho's you bawn." 

1 "Dick, I wouldn't do it," said Charlie, laughing in 
spite of himself. 

Charlie refused to accompany him. But Dick's mind 
was set on the necessity of this work of reform. So 
in the afternoon he slipped off without leave and 
quietly made his way into the gallery of the Negro 
Baptist church. 

The excitement was running high. Uncle Josh had 
preached one sermon an hour in length, and had called 



A Modern Miracle 181 

up the mourners. At least fifty had come forward. 
The benches had been cleared for five rows back from 
the pulpit to give plenty of room for the mourners 
to crawl over the floor, walk back and forth and shout 
when they " came through," and for their friends to 
fan them. 

This open place was covered with wheat straw to 
keep the mourners off the bare floor and afford some 
sort of comfort for those far advanced in mourning, 
who went into trances and sometimes lay motionless 
for hours on their backs or flat on their faces. 

The mourners had kicked and shuffled this straw out 
to the edges and the floor was bare. Uncle Josh had 
sent two deacons out for more straw. 

In the meantime he was working himself up to 
another mighty climax of exhortation to move sinners 
to come forward. 

"Come on ter glory, you po', po' sinners, en flee ter de 
Lamb er God befo' de flames er hell swaller you whole ! 
At de last great day de Spent '11 flash de light er his 
shinin' face on dis ole parch up, sinful worl', en hit '11 
ketch er fire in er minute, an' de yearth '11 melt wid 
furvient heat ! Wha '11 you be den, po' tremblin' sinner ? 
Whar '11 you be when de flame er de Sperit smites de 
moon and de stars wid fire, en dey 'gin ter drap out en 
de sky en knock big holes in de burnin' yearth ? Whar 
'11 you be when de rocks melt wid dat heat, en de sun 
hide his face in de black smoke dat rise fum de pit ?" 

Moans and groans and shrieks, louder and louder, filled 
the air. Uncle Josh paused a moment and looked for 
his deacons with the straw. They were just coming 
up the steps with a great armful over their heads. 

" What's de matter wid you breddern ! Fetch on tha*; 
wheat straw! Here's dese tremblin' souls gwine down 
inter de flames er hell des fur de lak er wheat straw ! " 



1 82 The Leopard's Spots 

The brethren hurried forward with the wheat straw, 
and just as they reached Uncle Josh, standing perspiring 
in the midst of his groaning mourners, Dick flashed from 
the gallery a stream of dazzling light on the old man's 
face and held it steadily on his bald head. Josh was too 
astonished to move at first. He was simply paralysed 
with fear. It is all right to talk about the flame of 
the Spirit, but he wasn't exactly ready to run into it. 
Suddenly he clapped his hands on the top of his head 
and sprang straight up in the air, yelling in a plain, 
e very-day profane voice. 

" God-der-mighty ! What's dat ? " 

The brethren holding the straw saw it and stood 
dumb with terror. The light disappeared from Uncle 
Josh's head and lit the straw in splendour on one of the 
deacon's shoulders. Aunt Mary's voice was heard 
above the mourners' din, clear, shrill and soul-piercing. 

"G-1-o-r-y! G-1-o-r-y ter God! De flame er de 
Sperit ! De judgment day! Yas, Lawd, I'se here! 
Glory! Halleluyah!" 

Suddenly the straw on the deacon's back burst into 
flames. And pandemonium broke loose. A weak- 
minded sinner screamed. " De flames er Hell ! " 

The mourners smelled the smoke and sprang from 
the floor with white staring eyes. When they saw the 
fire and got their bearings they made for the open — 
they jumped on each other's back and made for the 
door like madmen. Those nearest the windows sprang 
through, and when the lower part of the window was 
jammed, big buck Negroes jumped on the backs of the 
lower crowd and plunged through the two upper sashes 
with a crash that added new terror to the panic. 

In two minutes the church was empty and the yard 
full of crazy, shouting Negroes. 

Dick stepped from the gallery into the crowd as the 



A Modern Miracle 183 

last ones emerged, ran up to the pulpit and stamped 
out the fire in the straw with his bare feet. He 
looked around to see if they had left anything valuable 
behind in the stampede, and sauntered leisurely out of 
the church. 

"Now, dog-gone 'em, let 'em yell! " he muttered to 
himself. 

"When Uncle Josh sufficiently recovered his senses 
to think, and saw the church still standing, with not 
even a whiff of smoke to be seen, instead of the roaring 
furnace he had expected, he was amazed. He called 
his scattered deacons together and they went cautiously 
back to investigate. 

"Hit's no use in talkin', Bre'r Josh, dey sho' wuz er 
fire ! " cried one of the deacons. 

"Sho's de Lawd's in heaben. I feel it gittin' on my 
fingers 'fo' I drap dat straw," said another. 

"Hit smite me fust right on top er my haid," whis- 
pered Uncle Josh in awe. 

They cautiously approached the pulpit, and there in 
front of it lay the charred fragments of the burned 
straw pile. 

They gathered around it in awestruck wonder. One 
of them touched it with his foot. 

"Doan' do dat!" cried Uncle Josh, lifting his hand 
with authority. 

They drew back. Uncle Josh saw the immense power 
in that heap of charred straw. Some of it was a little 
damp and it had been only partly burned. 

"Dar's de mericle er de Sperit !" he solemnly 
declared. 

"Yas, Lawd!" echoed a deacon. 

"Fetch de hammer, en de saw, en de nails, en de 
boards, en build right dar en altar ter de Sperit," were 
his prophetic commands. 



1 84 The Leopard's Spots 

And they did. They got an old show-case of glass, 
put the charred straw in it, and built an open box- work 
around it just where it fell in front of the pulpit. 

Then a revival broke out that completely paralysed 
the industries of Campbell County. Every Negro 
stopped work and went to that church. Uncle Josh 
didn't have to preach or to plead. They came in troops 
toward the magic altar, whose fame and mystery had 
thrilled every superstitious soul with its power. The 
benches were all moved out and the whole church floor 
given up to mourners. Uncle Josh had an easy time 
walking around, just adding a few terrifying hints 
to trembling sinners, or helping to hold some strong 
sister when she had "come through," with so 
much glory in her bones that there was danger she 
would hurt somebody. 

After a week the matter became so serious that the 
white people set in motion an investigation of the affair. 
Dick had thrown out a mysterious hint that he knew 
some things that were very funny. 

"Doan' you tell nobody!" he would solemnly say to 
Charlie. 

And then he would lie down on the grass and roll and 
laugh. At length by dint of perseverance, and a bribe 
of a quarter, the Preacher induced Dick to explain the 
mystery. He did, and it broke up the meeting. 

Uncle Josh's fury knew no bounds. He was heart- 
broken at the sudden collapse of his revival, chagrined at 
the recollection of his own terror at the fire, and fearful 
of an avalanche of backsliders from the meeting among 
those who had professed even with the greatest glory. 

He demanded that the Preacher should turn Dick 
over to him for correction. The Preacher took a few 
hours to consider whether he should whip him himself 
w turn him over to Uncle Josh. Dick heard Uncle 



A Modern Miracle 185 

Josh's demand. Out behind the stable he and Charlie 
held a council of war. 

"You go see Miss Mar'get fur me en git up close to 
her, en tell her 'tain't right ter 'low no low-down 
black nigger ter whip me." 

"All right, Dick, I will," agreed Charlie. 

11 'Case ef ole Josh beats me I gwine ter run away. I 
nebber git ober dat." 

Dick had threatened to run away often before when 
he wanted to force Charlie to do something for him. 
Once he had gone a mile out of town with his clothes 
tied in a bundle, and Charlie trudging after him begging 
him not to leave. 

The boy did his best to save Dick the humiliation of a 
whipping at the hands of Uncle Josh, but in vain. 

When Uncle Josh led him out to the stable lot his 
face was not pleasant to look upon. There was a 
dangerous gleam in Dick's eye that boded no good to 
his enemy. 

"You imp er de debbil!" exclaimed Uncle Josh, 
shaking his switch with unction. 

"I fool you good enough, you ole bal'headed ape!" 
answered Dick, gritting his teeth defiantly. 

"I make you sing enudder chune 'fo' I'se done 
wid you." 

"En' if you does, nigger, you know what I gwine do 
fur you?" cried Dick, rolling his eyes up at his enemy. 

"What kin you do, honey?" asked Uncle Josh, 
humouring his victim now with the evident relish of a 
cat before his meal on a mouse. 

"Ef you hits me hard, I gwine ter burn yo' house 
down on yo' haid some night en run erway des es sho' 
es I kin stick er match to it," said Dick. 

"You is, is you?" thundered Josh with wrath. 

"Dat I is. En' I burn yo' ole chu'ch de same night." 



1 86 The Leopard's Spots 

Uncle Josh was silent a moment. Dick's word had 
chilled his heart. He was afraid of him, but he was 
afraid to back down from what was now evidently his 
duty. So without further words he whipped him. Yet 
to save his life he could not hit him as hard as he 
thought he deserved. 

That night Dick disappeared from Hambright, and 
for weeks every evening at dusk the wistful face of 
Charlie Gaston could be seen on the big hill to the 
south of town vainly watching for somebody. He would 
always take something to eat in his pockets, and when 
he gave up his vigil he would place the food under a 
big shelving rock where they had often played together. 
But the birds and ground squirrels ate it. He would 
slip back the next day, hoping to see Dick jump out of 
the cave and surprise him. 

And then at last he gave it up, sat down under the 
rock and cried. He knew Dick would grow to be a man 
somewhere out in the big world and never come back. 



LOVE'S DREAM 



IBook Ctoo— JLotoe'0 Dream 

CHAPTER I 
[ BLUE EYES AND BLACK HAIR 

SHE'S coming next month, Charlie," said Mrs. 
Durham, looking up from a letter. 
"Who is it now, Auntie — another divinity 
with which you are going to overwhelm me?" asked 
Gaston, smiling, as he laid his book down and leaned 
back in his chair. 

"Some one I've been telling you about for the 
last month." 

"Which one?" 

" Oh, you wretch ! You don't think about anything 
except your books. I've been dinning that girl's praises 
into your ears for fully five weeks, and you look at me 
in that innocent way and ask which one?" 

"Honestly, Aunt Margaret, you're always telling me 
about some beautiful girl. I get them mixed. And then 
when I see them they don't come up to the advance 
notices you've sent out. To tell you the truth, you are 
such a beautiful woman, and I've got so used to your 
standard, the girls can't measure up to it." 

"You flatterer. A woman of forty-two a standard 
of beauty ! Well, it's sweet to hear you say it, you 
handsome young rascal." 

"It's the honest truth. You are one of the women 
who never show the addition of a year. You have 
spoiled my eyesight for ordinary girls." 

189 



190 The Leopard's Spots 

" Hush, sir; you don't dare to talk to any girl like you 
talk to me. They all say you're afraid of them." 

"Well, I am, in a sense. I've been disappointed so 
many times." 

"Oh, you'll find her yet ! And when you do " 

"What do you think will happen?" 

"I'm certain you will be the biggest fool in the state." 

"That will make it nice for the girl, won't it?" 

"Yes; and I shall enjoy your antics. You who have 
dissected love with your brutal German philosophy, and 
found every girl's faults with such ease — it will be fun 
to watch you flounder in the meshes at last." 

"Auntie, seriously, it will be the happiest day of my 
life. For four years my dreams have been growing more 
and more impossible. Who is this one?" 

"She is the most beautiful girl I know, and the 
brightest and the best, and if she gets hold of you she 
will clip your wings and bring you down to earth. I'll 
watch you with interest," said Mrs. Durham, looking 
over the letter again and laughing. 

"What are you laughing at?" 

"Just a little joke she gets off in this letter. 

"But who is she? You haven't told me." 

"I did tell you — she's General Worth's daughter, 
Miss Sallie. She writes she is coming up to spend a 
month at the Springs, with her friend Helen Lowell, of 
Boston, and wants me to corral all the young men in the 
community and have them fed and in fine condition 
for work when they arrive." 

"She evidently intends to have a good time." 

"Yes; and she will." 

"Fortunately my law practice is not rushing me at 
this season. My total receipts for June last year were 
two dollars and twenty-five cents. It will hardly go 
over two fifty this year." 



Blue Eyes and Black Hair 191 

"I've told her you're a rising young lawyer." 

"I have plenty of room to rise, Auntie. If you will 
just keep on letting me board with you I hope to work 
my practice up to ten dollars a month in the course 
of time." 

" Don't you want to hear something about Miss 
Sallie?" 

"Of course; I was just going to ask you if she's as 
homely as that last one you tried to get off on me." 

" I've told you she's a beauty. She made a sensation 
at her finishing school in Baltimore. It's funny that she 
was there the last year you were at the Johns Hopkins 
University. She's the belle of Independence, rich, 
petted, and the only child of eld General Worth, who 
thinks the sun rises and sets in her pretty blue eyes." 

"So she has blue eyes?" 

"Yes, blue eyes and black hair." 

"What a funny combination ! I never saw a girl with 
blue eyes and black hair." 

"It's often seen in the far South. I expect you to be 
drowned in those blue eyes. They are big, round and 
childlike, and look out of their black lashes as though 
surprised at their dark setting. This contrast accents 
their dreamy beauty, and her eyes seem to swim in a 
dim blue mist like the point where the sea and sky meet 
on the horizon far out on the ocean. She is bright, 
witty, romantic and full of coquetry. She is determined 
to live her girl's life to its full limit. She is fond of 
society and dances divinely." 

"That's bad. I never even cut the pigeon 's-wing in 
my life — and I'm too old to learn." 

"She has a full, queenly figure, small hands and feet, 
delicate wrists, a dimple in one cheek only, and a 
mass of brown-black hair that curls when it's going 
to rain." 



192 The Leopard's Spots 

"That's fine; we wouldn't need a barometer on life's 
voyage, would we?" 

"No; but you will be looking for a pilot and a harbour 
before you've known her a month. Her upper lip is a 
little fuller and projects slightly over the lower, and they 
are both beautifully fluted and curved like the petals of 
a flower, which makes the most tantalising mouth — a 
standing challenge for a kiss." 

"Auntie, you're joking. You never saw such a 
girl. You're breaking into my heart, stealing glances 
at my ideal." 

"All right, sir; wait and see for yourself. She has 
pretty shell-like ears; her laughter is full, contagious, 
and like music. She plays divinely on the piano, can't 
sing a note, but dresses to kill. You might as well 
wind up your affairs and get ready for the first serious 
work of your life. You will have your hands full after 
you see her." 

"But did I understand you to say she's rich?" 

"Yes; they say her father is worth half a million." 

"Do you think she could be interested in the poor in 
this county?" 

"Yes; she doesn't seem to know she's an heiress. Her 
father, the General, is a deacon in the Baptist church 
at Independence, and hates dudes and fops with all 
his old-fashioned soul. His idea of a man is cne of 
character and the capacity of achievement, not merely 
a possessor of money. Still, I imagine he is going to 
give any man trouble who tries to take his daughter 
away from him." 

"I'm afraid that money lets me out of the race." 

"Nothing of the sort; when you see her you will never 
allow a little thing like that to worry you." 

"It's not her dollars that will worry me. It's the 
fact that she's got them and I haven't. But, anyhow, 



Blue Eyes and Black Hair 193 

Auntie, from your description you can book me for one 
night at least." 

"I'm going to book you for her lackey, her slave, 
devoted to her every whim while she's here. One 
night — the idea!" 

"Auntie, you're too generous to others. I've no 
notion all this rigmarole about your Miss Sallie Worth is 
true. But I'll do anything to please you." 

"Very well; I'll see whom you will be trying to 
please later." 

"I must go," said Gaston, hastily rising. "I have an 
engagement to discuss the coming political campaign 
with the Honourable Allan McLeod, the present Repub- 
lican boss of the state." 

"I didn't know yo\i hobnobbed with the enemy." 

"I don't. But as far as I can understand him, he 
purposes to take me up on an exceeding high mountain 
and offer me the world and the fulness thereof. We all 
like to be tempted, whether we fall or not. The Doctor 
hates McLeod. I think he holds some grudge against 
him. What do you think of him, Auntie? He swears 
by you. I used to dislike him as a boy, but he seems a 
pretty decent sort of fellow now, and I can't help liking 
just a little anybody who loves you. I confess he has 
a fascination for me." 

"Why do you ask my opinion of him?" slowly asked 
Mrs. Durham. 

" Because I'm not quite sure of his honesty. He talks 
fairly, but there's something about him that casts a 
doubt over his fairest words. He says he has the most 
important proposition of my life to place before me 
to-day, and I'm at a loss how to meet him — whether as 
a well-meaning friend or a scheming scoundrel. He's a 
puzzle to me." 

"Well, Charlie, I don't mind telling you that he is a 



194 Th e Leopard's Spots 

puzzle to me. I've always been strangely attracted to 
him, even when he was a big red-headed brute of a boy. 
The Doctor always disliked him and, I thought, mis- 
judged him. He has always paid me the supremest 
deference, and of late years the most subtle flattery. 
No woman who feels her life a failure, as I do mine, 
can be indifferent to such a compliment from a man of 
trained mind and masterful character. This is a sore 
subject between the Doctor and myself. And when I 
see him shaking hands a little too lingeringly with 
admiring sisters after his services I repay him with a 
chat with my devoted McLeod. Don't ask me. I like 
him and I don't like him. I admire him and at the 
same time I suspect and half fear him." 

"Strange we feel so much alike about him. But 
your heart has always been very close to mine, since 
you slipped your arm around me that night my mother 
died. I know about what he will say, and I know 
about what I'll do." He stooped and kissed his foster- 
mother tenderly. 

"Charlie, I'm in earnest about my pretty girl that's 
coming. Don't forget it." 

"Bah! You've fooled me before." 



CHAPTER II 
THE VOICE OF THE TEMPTER 

McLEOD was waiting with some impatience in 
his room at the hotel. 
"Walk in, Gaston; you're a little late. 
However, better late than never." McLeod plunged 
directly into the purpose of his visit. 

"Gaston, you're a man of brains and oratorical 
genius. I heard your speech in the last Democratic 
convention in Raleigh, and — I don't say it to flatter 
you — that was the greatest speech made in any 
assembly in this state since the war." 

"Thanks," said Gaston, with a wave of his arm. 

" I mean it. You know too much to be in sympathy 
with the old mossbacks who are now running this state. 
For fourteen years the South has marched to the polls 
and struck blindly at the Republican party, and three 
times it struck to kill. The Southern people have 
nothing in common with these Northern Democrats 
who make your platforms and nominate your candidate. 
You don't ask anything about the platform or the man. 
You would vote for the devil if the Democrats nominated 
him, and ask no questions; and what infuriates me is 
you vote to enforce platforms that mean economic ruin 
to the South." 

"Man shall not live by bread alone, McLeod." 

"Sure; but he can't live on dead men's bones. You 
vote in solid mass on the Negro question, which you 
settle by the power of Anglo-Saxon insolence when 
you destroy the Reconstruction governments at a blow. 

195 



j go The Leopard's Spots 

Why should you keep on voting against every interest 
of the South, merely because you hate the name 
Republican?" 

1 ' Why ? Simply because so long as the Negro is here 
with a ballot in his hands he is a menace to civilisation. 
The Republican party placed him here. The name 
Republican will stink in the South for a century, not 
because they beat us in war, but because two years after 
the war, in profound peace, they inaugurated a second 
war on the unarmed people of the South, butchering the 
starving, the wounded, the women and children. God 
in heaven, will I ever forget that day they murdered my 
mother ! Their attempt to establish with the bayonet 
an African barbarism on the ruins of Southern society 
was a conspiracy against human progress. It was the 
blackest crime of the nineteenth century." 

"You are talking in a dead language. We are living 
in a new world." 

"But principles are eternal." 

"Principles? I'm not talking about principles. I'm 
talking about practical politics. The people down here 
haven't voted on a principle in years. They've been 
voting on old Simon Legree. He left the state nearly a 
quarter of a century ago." 

"Yes, McLeod, but his soul has gone marching on. 
The Republican party fought the South because such 
men as Legree lived in it, and abused the Negroes, and 
the moment they won, turn and make Legree and his 
breed their pets. Simon Legree is more than a mere man 
who stole five millions of dollars, alienated the races, 
and covered the South with the desolation of anarchy, 
He is an idea. He represents everything that the soul 
of the South loathes and that the Republican party 
has tried to ram down our throats — Negro supremacy 
in politics and Negro equality in society," 



The Voice of the Tempter 197 

"You are talking about the dead past, Gaston. I'm 
surprised at a man of your brain living under such a 
delusion. How can there be Negro supremacy when 
they are in a minority?" 

"Supremacy under a party system is always held by 
a minority. The dominant faction of a party rules the 
party, and the successful party rules the state. If the 
Negro only numbered one-fifth the population and they 
all belonged to one party, they could dictate the policy 
of that party." 

"You know that a few white brains really rule that 
black mob." 

"Yes; but the black mob defines the limits within 
which you live and have your being." 

"Gaston, the time has come to shake off this night* 
mare and face the issues of our day and generation* 
We are going to win in this campaign, but I want you.. 
I like you. You are the kind of man we need now 
to take the field and lead in this campaign." 

"How are you going to win?" 

"We are going to form a contract with the Farmers v 
Alliance and break the backbone of the Bourbon Democ- 
racy of the South. The farmers have now a compact 
body of 50,000 voters, thoroughly organised, and com* 
bined with the Negro vote we can hold this state until 
Gabriel blows his trumpet." 

"That's a pretty scheme. Our farmers are crazy 
now with every variety of fool ideas," said Gaston, 
thoughtfully. 

"Exactly, my boy; and we've got them by the nose. ,;> 

"If you can carry through that programme you've 
got us in a hole." 

"In a hole ! I should say we've got you in the bot< 
tomless pit with the lid bolted down. You'll not even 
rise at the day of judgment. It won't be necessary I'* 



198 The Leopard's Spots 

laughed McLeod, and as he laughed changed his tone 
in the midst of his laughter. 

"And what is the great proposition you have to make 
to me ? " asked Gaston. 

"Join with us in this new coalition and stump the 
state for us. Your fortune will be made, win or lose. 
I'll see that the National Republican Committee pays 
you a thousand dollars a week for your speeches, at 
least five a week — two hundred dollars apiece. If we 
i lose, you will make ten thousand dollars in the canvass 
and stand in line for a good office under the National 
administration. If we win, I'll put you in the Gov- 
ernor's Palace for four years. There's a tide in the 
affairs of men, you know. It's at the flood at this 
moment for you." 

Gaston was silent a moment and looked thoughtfully 
out of the window. The offer was a tremendous temp- 
tation. A group of old fogies had dominated the 
Democratic party for ten years, and had kept the 
younger men down with their war-cries and old soldier 
candidates, until he had been more than once disgusted. 
He felt as sure of McLeod's success as if he already 
saw it. It was precisely the movement he had warned 
the old pudding-head set against in the preceding cam- 
paign in which they had deliberately alienated the 
•"Farmers' Alliance. They had poohpoohed his warning 
and blundered on to their ruin. 

It was the dream of his life to have money enough 
to buy back his mother's old home, beautify it, and live 
there in comfort with a great library of books he would 
gather. The possibility of a career at the state Capitol 
and then at Washington for so young a man was one of 
dazzling splendour to his youthful mind. For the 
moment it seemed almost impossible to say no. 

McLeod saw his hesitation and already smiled with 



The Voice of the Tempter 199 

the certainty of triumph. A cloud overspread his face 
when Gaston at length said; 

"I'll give you my answer to-morrow." 

"All right! You're a gentleman; I can trust you a 
Our conversation is, of course, only between you 
and me." 

"Certainly; I understand that." 

All that day and night he was alone fighting out the 
battle in his soul. It was an easy solution of life that 
opened before him. The attainment of his proudest 
ambitions lay within his grasp almost without a struggle. 
Such a campaign, with his name on the lips of surging 
thousands around those speakers' stands, was an idea 
that fascinated him with a serpent charm. 

All that he had to do was to give up his prejudices on 
the Negro question. His own party stood for no princi- 
ple except the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon. On the 
issue of the party platforms he was in accord with the 
modern Republican utterances at almost every issue, 
and so were his associates in the Southern Democracy. 
The Negro was the point. What was the use now of 
persisting in the stupid reiteration of the old sljgan of 
white supremacy? The Negro had the ballot. He was 
still the ward of the nation, and likely to be for all time, 
so far as he could see. The Negro was the one pet super- { 
stition of the millions who lived where no Negro dwelt. 

His person and his ballot were held more peculiarly 
sacred and inviolate in the South than that of any white 
man elsewhere. 

The possibility of a reunion in friendly understanding 
and sympathy between the masses of the North and the 
masses of the South seemed remote and impossible in 
his day and generation. 

He asked himself the question — Could such a revolu« 
tion toward universal suffrage ever go backward, no 



200 The Leopard's Spots 

matter how base the motive which gave it birth ? Why 
not give up impracticable dreams, accept things as they 
are, and succeed ? 

He did not confer with the Reverend John Durham 
on this question, because he knew what his answer 
would be without asking. A thousand times he had 
said to him, with the emphasis he could give to words: 

"My boy, the future American must be an Anglo- 
Saxon or a Mulatto. We are now deciding which it 
shall be. The future of the world depends on tlie future 
of this Republic. This Republic can have no future if 
racial lines are broken and its proud citizenship sinks to 
the level of a mongrel breed of Mulattoes. The South 
must fight this battle to a finish. Two thousand years 
look down upon the struggle, and two thousand years of 
the future bend low to catch tlte message of life or death." 

He could see now his drawn face with its deep lines 
and his eyes flashing with passion as he said this. These 
words haunted Gaston now with strange power as he 
walked along the silent streets. 

He walked down past his old home, stopped and 
leaned on the gate, and looked at it long and lovingly. 
What a flood of tender and sorrowful memories swept 
his soul ! He lived over again the days of despair 
when his mother was an invalid. He recalled their 
awful poverty, and then the last terrible day with that 
mob of Negroes trampling over the lawn and overrun- 
ning the house. He saw the white face of his mother 
whose memory he loved as he loved life. And now he 
recalled a sentence from her dying lips. He had all 
but lost its meaning. 

" You will grow to be a brave, strong man. You will 
fight this battle out and win back our home, and bring 
your own bride here in the far-away days of sunshine 
and success I see for you." 



The Voice cf the Tempter 201 

You will fight tJiis battle out — he had almost lost that 
sentence in his hunger for that which followed. It came 
to his soul now, ringing like a trumpet-call to honour 
and duty. 

He turned on his heel and walked rapidly home. He 
looked at his watch. It was two o'clock in the morning. 

4 'We will fight it out on the old lines," he said to 
McLeod next day. 

"You will find me a pretty good fighter." 

"Unto death let it be," answered Gaston, firmly set- 
ting his lips. 

"I admire your pluck, but I'm sorry for your judg- 
ment. You know you're beaten before you begin." 

"Defeat that's seen has lost its bitterness before 
it comes." 

"Then get ready the flowers for the funeral. I hoped 
you would have better sense. You are one of the men 
now I'll have to crush first, thoroughly and for all time. 
I'm not afraid of the old fools. I'll be fair enough to 
tell you this," said McLeod. 

"Not since Legree's day has the Republican party 
had so dangerous a man at its head," said Gaston 
thoughtfully to himself as McLeod strode away across 
the square. "He has ten times the brains of his older 
master, and none of his superstitions. He will give me 
a hard fight." 




CHAPTER III 

FLORA 

AMB RIGHT had changed but little in the 
eighteen years of peace that had followed the 
terrors of Legree's regime. The population 
had doubled, though but few houses had been built. 
The town had not grown from the development of 
industry, but for a very simple reason — the country 
people had moved into the town, seeking refuge from 
a new terror that was growing of late more and more a 
menace to a country home — the roving criminal Negro. 

The birth of a girl baby was sure to make a father 
restless, and when the baby looked up into his face one 
day with the soft light of a maiden he gave up his farm 
and moved to town. 

The most important development of these eighteen 
years was the complete alienation of the white ard 
black races as compared with the old familiar trust Cx 
domestic life. 

When Legree finished his work as the master artificer 
of the Reconstruction Policy, he had dug a gulf between 
the races as deep as hell. It had never been bridged. 
The deed was done, and it had crystallised into the solid 
rock that lies at the basis of society. It was done at a 
formative period, and it could no more be undone now 
than you could roll the universe back in its course. 

The younger generation of white men only knew the 
Negro as an enemy of his people in politics and society. 
He never came in contact with him except in menial 

202 



Flora 203 

service, in which the service rendered was becoming 
more and more trifling, and his habits more insolent. 
He had his separate schools, churches, preachers and 
teachers, and his political leaders were the beneficiaries 
of Legree's legacies. 

With the Anglo-Saxon race guarding the door of mar- 
riage with fire and sword, the effort was being made to 
♦ build a nation inside a nation of two antagonistic races. 
No £uch thing had ever been done in the history of the 
human race, even under the development of the monar- 
chical and aristocratic forms of society. How could it 
be done under the formulas of Democracy with Equality 
as the fundamental basis of law? And yet this was the 
programme of the age. 

Gaston was feeling blue from the reaction which fol- 
lowed his temptation by McLeod. His duty was clear 
the night before as he walked firmly homeward, recalling 
the tragedy of the past. Now in the cold light of day 
the past seemed far away and unre£ 1 . The present was 
near, pressing, vital. He laid down a book he was try- 
ing to read, locked his office, and strolled downtown to 
see Tom Camp. 

This old soldier had come to be a sort of oracle to him. 
His affection for the son of his Colonel was deep and 
abiding, and his extravagant flattery of his talents and 
future were so evidently sincere they always acted as a •; 
tonic. And he needed a tonic to-day. 

Tom was seated in a chair in his yard under a big 
cedar, working on a basket, and a little golden-haired 
girl was playing at his feet. It was his old home he had 
lost in Legree's day, but had got back through the help 
of General Worth, who came up one day and paid back 
Tom's gift of lightwood in gleaming yellow metal. His 
long hair and full beard were white now, and his eyes 
had a soft deep look that told of sorrows borne in 



204 The Leopard's Spots 

patience and faith beyond the ken of the younger man. 
It was this look on Tom's face that held Gaston like a 
magnet when he was in trouble. 

"Tom, I'm blue and heartsick. I've come down to 
have you cheer me up a little." 

11 You've got the blues ? Well, that is a joke ! " cried 
Tom. "You, young and handsome, the best educated 
man in the county, the finest orator in the state, life 
all before you, and God nllin' the world to-day with 
sunshine and spring flowers, and all for you. You 
blue! That is a joke." And Tom's voice rang in 
hearty laughter. 

"Come here, Flora, and kiss me. You won't laugh at 
me, will you?" 

The child climbed up into his lap, slipped her little 
arms around his neck, and hugged and kissed him. 

"Now, once more, dearie, long and close and hard — 
oh! That's worth a pound of candy." Again she 
squeezed his neck c nd kissed him, looking into his face 
with a smile. 

"I love you, Charlie," she artlessly said, with quaint 
seriousness. 

" Do you, dear? Well, that makes me glad. If I can 
win the love of as pretty a little girl as you I'm not a 
failure, am I?" And he smoothed her curls. 

"Ain't she sweet? " cried Tom with pride, as he laid 
aside his basket and looked at her with moistened 
eyes. 

"Tom, she's the sweetest child I ever saw." 

"Yes, she's God's last and best gift to me, to show 
me He still loved me. Talk about trouble. Man, you're 
a baby ! You ain't cut your teeth yet. Wait till you've 
seen some things I've seen. Wait till you've seen 
the light of the world go out, and, staggerin' in the 
dark, met the devil face to face and looked him in the 



Flora 205 

eye and smelled the pit. And then feel him knock 
you down in it, and the red waves roll over you and 
smother you. I've been there ! " 

Tom paused and looked at Gaston. "You weren't 
here when I come to the end of the world, the time when 
that baby was born, and Annie died with the little red 
bundle sleepin' on her breast. The oldest girl was mur- 
dered by Legree's nigger soldiers. Then Annie give me 
that little gal. Lord, I was the happiest old fool that 
ever lived that day ! And then when I looked into 
Annie's dead face I went down, down, down ! But I 
looked up from the bottom of the pit and saw the light 
of them blue eyes and I heard her callin' me to take 
her. How I watched her and nursed her, a mother and 
a father to her, day and night, through the long years, 
and how them little fingers of hers got held of my heart ! 
Now, I bless the Lord for all His goodness and mercy to 
me. She will make it all right. She's going to be a lady 
and such a beauty ! She's going to school now, and me 
and the General's goin' to take her ter college by and 
by, and she's goin' to marry some big handsome fellow 
like you, and her crippled, gray-haired daddy '11 live in 
her house in his old age. The Lord is my shepherd; I 
shall not want." 

"Tom, you make me ashamed." 

"You ought to be, man — a youngster like you to talk 
about gettin' the blues. What's all your education for? " 

"Sometimes I think that only men like you have ever 
been educated." 

" G'long with your foolishness, boy. I ain't never had 
a show in this world. The nigger's been on my back 
since I first toddled into the world, and I reckon he'll ride 
me into the grave. They are my only rivals now, making 
them baskets, and they always undersell me." 

Gaston started as Tom uttered the last sentence. 



206 The Leopard's Spots 

" With you, boy, it's all plain sailin'. You're the best- 
looking chap in the county. I was a dandy when I was 
young. It does me good to look at you, if you don't care 
nothin' about fine clothes. Then you're as sharp as a 
razor. There ain't a man in No'th Caliny that can stand 
up agin you on the stump. I've heard 'em all. You'll 
be the Governor of this state." 

That was always the climax of Tom's prophetic 
flattery. He could think of no grander end of a human 
life than to crown it in the Governor's Palace of North 
Carolina. He belonged to the old days when it was a 
bigger thing to be the Governor of a great state than to 
hold any office short of the Presidency — when men 
resigned seats in the United States Senate to run for 
Governor, and when the National Government was so 
puny a thing that the bankers of Europe refused to loan 
money on United States bonds unless countersigned by 
the State of Virginia. And that was not so long ago. 
The bankers sent that answer to Buchanan's Secretary 
of the Treasury. 

"Tom, you've lifted me out of the dumps. I owe 
you a doctor's fee!" cried Gaston, with enthusiasm, 
as he placed Flora back on the grass and started 
to his office. 

" All I charge you is to come again. The old man's 
proud of his young friend. You make me feel like I'm 
somebody in the old world after all. And some day 
when you're great and rich and famous, and the 
world's full of your name, I'll tell folks I know you like 
my own boy, and I'll brag about how many times you 
used to come to see me." 

" Hush, Tom. you make me feel silly," said Gaston, as 
he warmly pressed the old fellow's hand. He went back 
toward his office with lighter step and more buoyant 
heart. His mind was as clear as the noonday sun that 



Flora 207 

was now flooding the green fresh world with its 
splendour. He would stand by his own people. He 
would sink or swim with them. If poverty and 
failure were the result, let it be so. If success came, 
all the better. There were things more to be desired 
fchan gold. 



CHAPTER IV 
THE ONE WOMAN 

GASTON called at the post-office to get his mail. 
One relief the Cleveland administration had 
brought Hambright — a decent citizen in charge 
of the post-office. Dave Haley had given place to a 
Democrat and was now scheming and working with 
McLeod for the "salvation" of the state, which, of 
course, meant for the old slave-trader the restoration 
of his office under a Republican administration. If 
the South had held no other reason for hating the 
Republican party, the character of the men appointed 
to Federal office was enough to send every honest man 
hurrying into the opposite party without asking any 
questions as to its principles. 

Sam Love, the new postmaster, was a jovial, honest, 
lazy, good-natured Democrat whose ideal of a luxurious 
life was attained in his office. He handed Gaston his 
mail with a giggle. 

"What's the matter with you, Sam?" 

" Nuthin' 'tall. I just thought I'd tell you that I like 
her handwriting," he laughed. 

1 ' How dare you study the handwriting on my 
letters, sir!" 

"What's the use of being postmaster? There ain't 
no big money in it. I just take pride in the office," 
said Sam, genially. "That's a new one, ain't it? " 

Gaston looked at the letter incredulously. It was a 
new one — a big, square envelope with a seal on the back 

208 



The One Woman 209 

of it, addressed to him in the most delicate feminine 
hand and postmarked "Independence." 

"Great Scott, this is interesting," he cried, breaking 
the seal. 

When the postmaster saw he was going to open it 
right there in the office, he stepped around in front and, 
looking ever his shoulder, said: 

"What is it, Charlie?" 

"It's an invitation from the Ladies' Memorial Asso- 
ciation to deliver the Memorial Day oration at Independ' 
ence the 10th of May. That's great. No money in it, 
but scores of pretty girls, big speech, congratulations, the 
lion of the hour. Don't you wish you were really a man 
of brains, Sam? " 

"No, no; I'm married. It would be a waste now." 

"Sam, I'll be there. Got the biggest speech of my 
life all cocked and primed, full of pathos and eloquence 
— been working on it at odd times for four years. 
They'll think it a sudden inspiration." 

"What's the name of it?" 

"The Message of the New South to the Glorious 
Old." 

"That sounds bully! That ought to fetch 'em." 

"It will, my boy; and when Dave Haley gets this 
post-office away from you in the dark days coming, I'll 
publish that speech in a pamphlet, and you can peddle 
it at a quarter and make a good living for your children." 

"Don't talk like that, Gaston; that isn't funny at all. 
You don't think the Radicals have got an) 7 - chance?" 

"Chance! Between you and me, they'll win." 

Sam went back to the desk without another word, a 
great fear suddenly darkening the future. McLeod had 
gotten off the same joke on him the day before. It 
sounded ominous, coming from both sides like that. 
He took up his party paper, The Old-Timer's Gazette, 



210 The Leopard's Spots 

and read over again the sure prophecies of victory and 
felt better. 

Gaston accepted the invitation with feverish haste. 
He had it all ready to put in the office for the return 
mail to Independence, but he was ashamed to appear 
in such a hurry, so he held the letter over until the next 
day. He proudly showed the invitation to Mrs. Durham. 

"What do you think of that, Auntie ? " 

"Immense. You will meet Miss Sallie sure. That 
letter is in her handwriting. She's the Secretary of the 
Association and signed the Committee's names." 

"You don't say that's the great and only one's 
handwriting?" 

"Couldn't be mistaken. It has a delicate distinction 
about it. I'd know it anywhere." 

"It is beautiful," acknowledged Gaston, looking 
thoughtfully at the letter. 

"I wish you had a new suit, Charlie." 

"I wouldn't mind it myself, if I had the money. 
But clothes don't interest me much, just so I'm 
fairly decent." 

"I'll loan you the money if you will promise me to 
devote yourself faithfully to Sallie." 

11 Never. I'll not sell my interest in all those acres of 
pretty girls just for one I never saw and a suit of clothes. 
No, thanks. I'm going down there with a premonition 
I may find Her of whom I've dreamed. They say that 
town is full of beauties." 

"You're so conceited. That's all the more reason you 
should look your best." 

"I don't care so much about looks. I'm going to do 
my best, whatever I look." 

"Oh, you know you're good looking and you don't 
•; v .are," said his foster mother with pride. 

On the ioth of May Independence was in gala robes. 



The One Woman 211 

The long rows of beautiful houses, with dark bluegrass 
lawns, over which giant oaks spread their cool arms, 
were gay with bunting, and with flowers, flowers 
everywhere ! Every urchin on the street and every 
man, woman and child wore or carried flowers. 

The reception committee met Gaston at the depot on 
the arrival of the excursion train that ran from Ham- 
bright. He was placed in an open carriage beside a 
handsome, chattering society woman, and, drawn by 
two prancing horses, was escorted to the hotel, where 
he was introduced to the distinguished old soldiers of 
the Confederacy. 

At ten o'clock the procession was formed. What a 
sight ! It stretched from the hotel down the shaded 
pavements a mile toward the cemetery, two long rows 
of beautiful girls holding great bouquets of flowers. 
This long double line ot beauty and sweetness opened, 
and escorted gravely by the oldest General of the 
Confederacy present, he walked through this mile of 
smiling girls and flowers. Behind him tramped the 
veterans, some with one arm, some with wooden legs. 

When they passed through, the double line closed, 
and two and two the hundreds of girls carried their 
flowers in solemn procession. Here was the throb- 
bing soul of the South, keeping fresh the love of her 
heroic dead. 

They spread out over the great cemetery like a host of 
ministering angels. There was a bugle call. They bent 
low a moment, and flowers were smiling over every grave 
from the greatest to the lowliest. 

And then to a stone altar marked "To the Unknown 
Dead " they came and heaped up roses. Then a group 
of sad-faced women dressed in black, with quaint little 
bonnets wreathing their brows like nuns, went silently 
over to the National Cemetery across the way and, each 



212 The Leopard's Spots 

taking a basket, walked past the long lines of the dead 
their boys had fought and dropped a single rose on every 
soldier's grave. They were women whose boys were 
buried in strange lands in lonely, unmarked trenches. 
They were doing now what they hoped some woman's 
hand would do for their lost heroes. 

The crowd silently gathered around the speakers' 
stand and took their seats in the benches placed beneath 
the trees. 

Gaston had never seen this ceremony so lavishly and 
beautifully performed before. He was overwhelmed 
with emotion. His father's straight, soldierly figure 
rose before him in imagination, and with him all 
the silent hosts that now bivouacked with the dead. 
His soul was melted with the infinite pathos and 
pity of it all. 

He had intended to say some sharp, epigrammatic 
things that would cut the chronic mossbacks that cling 
to the platforms on such occasions, but somehow when 
he began they were melted out of his speech. He spoke 
with a tenderness and reverence that stilled the crowd 
in a moment like low music. 

His tribute to the dead was a poem of rhythmic and 
exalted thoughts. The occasion was to him an inspira- 
tion, and the people hung breathless on his words. His 
voice was never strained, but was penetrated and thrilled 
with thought packed until it burst into the flame of 
speech. He felt with conscious power his mastery of 
his audience. He was surprised at his own mood of 
extraordinary tenderness as he felt his being softened 
by that oldest religion of the ages, the worship of the 
dead — as old as sorrow and as everlasting as death. He 
was for the moment clay in the hands of some mightier 
spirit above him. 

He had spoken perhaps fifteen minutes when suddenly, 



The One Woman 213 

straight in front of him, he looked into the face of the 
One Woman of all his dreams ! 

There she sat as still as death, her beautiful face tense 
with breathless interest, her fluted red lips parted as if 
half in wonder, half in joy, over some strange revelation, 
and her great blue eyes swimming in a mist of tears. He 
smiled a look of recognition into her soul and she 
answered with a smile that seemed to say: "I've known 
you always. Why haven't you seen me sooner?" He 
recognised her instantly from Mrs. Durham's description, 
and his heart gave a cry of joy. From that moment 
every word that he uttered was spoken to her. Some- 
times as he would look straight through her eyes into 
her soul she would flush red to the roots of her brown- 
black hair, but she never lowered her gaze. He closed 
his speech in a round of applause that was renewed 
again and again. 

His old classmate, Bob St. Clare, rushed forward to 
greet him. 

"Old fellow, you've covered yourself with g^ory. By 
George, that was great ! Come, here's a hundred girls 
want to meet you." 

He was introduced to a host of beauties who 
showered him with extravagant compliments which 
he accepted without affectation. He knew he had 
outdone himself that day, and he knew why. The 
One Woman he had been searching the world for 
was there, and inspired him beyond all he had ever 
dared before. 

He was disappointed in not seeing her among the 
crowd who were shaking his hand. He looked anxiously 
over the heads of those nearby to see if she had gone. 
He saw her standing talking to two stylishly dressed 
young men. 

When the crowd had melted away from the rostrum, 



214 The Leopard's Spots 

she walked straight toward him, extending her hand 
with a gracious smile. 

He knew he must look like a fool, but to save him 
he could not help it; he was simply bubbling over with 
delight as he grasped her hand, and before she could say 
a word he said: 

"You are Miss Sallie Worth, the Secretary of the 
Association. My foster mother has described you so 
accurately I should know you among a thousand." 

"Yes; I have been looking forward with pleasure to 
our trip to the Springs when I knew we should meet you. 
I am delighted to see you a month earlier." She said 
this with a simple earnestness that gave it a deeper 
meaning than a mere commonplace. 

"Do you know that you nearly knocked me off my 
feet when I first saw you in the crowd?" 

"Why? How?" she asked. 

"You startled me." 

"I hope not unpleasantly," she said, looking up at 
him with her blue eyes twinkling. 

"Oh, heavens, no! You are such a perfect image 
of the girl she described that I was so astonished I 
came near shouting at the top of my voice, 'There 
she is !' And that would have astonished the audience, 
wouldn't it?" 

"It would indeed ! " she replied, blushing just a little. 

"But I'm forgetting my mission, Mr. Gaston. Papa 
sent me to apologise for his absence to-day. He was 
called out of the city on some mill business. He told 
me to bring you home to dine with him. I'm the 
Secretary, you know, and exercise authority in these 
matters, so I've fixed that programme. You have no 
choice. The carriage is waiting." 



CHAPTER V 
THE MORNING OF LOVE 

TO his dying day Gaston will never forget that ride 
to her home with Sallie Worth by his side. It 
was a perfect May day. The leaves on the 
trees were just grown, and flashed in their green satin 
under the Southern sun, and every flower seemed in 
full bloom. 

A great joy filled his heart with a sense of divine 
restfulness. He was unusually silent. And then she 
said something that made him open his eyes in new 
wonder. 

"Don't drive so fast, Ben, and go around the longest 
way; I'm enjoying this." She paused and a mischievous 
look came into her eyes as she saw his expression. " I've 
got the lion here by my side. I want to show all the 
girls in town that I'm the only one here to-day. It isn't 
often I've a great man tied down fast like this." 

"Why did you spoil the first part of that pretty speech 
with the last?" he said, with a frown. 

"It was only your vanity that made me pause." 

"Could you read me like that?" 

"Of course; all men are vain — much vainer than 
women." Again there was a long silence. 

They had reached the outskirts of the city now and 
were driving slowly through the deep shadows of a 
great forest. 

"What beautiful trees !" he exclaimed. 

44 They are fine. Do you love big trees ? " 

215 



216 The Leopard's Spots 

" Yes; they always seem to me to have a soul. It used 
to make me almost cry to watch them fall beneath 
Nelse's axe. I'd never have the heart to clear a piece 
of woods if I owned it." 

"I'm so glad to hear you say that. Papa laughed at 
me when I said something of the sort when he wanted to 
cut these woods. He left them just to please me. They 
belong to our place. They hide the house till you get 
right up to the gate, but I love them." 

Again he looked into her eyes and was silent. 

" Now I come to think of it, you're the only girl 
I've met to-day who hasn't mentioned my speech. 
That's strange." 

" How do you know that I'm not saving up something 
very pretty to say to you later about it?" 

"Tell me now." 

"No; you've spoiled it by your vanity in asking." 
She said this looking away carelessly. 

"Then I'll interpret your silence as the highest 
compliment you can pay me. When words fail we 
are deeply moved." 

"Vanity of vanity, all is vanity, saith the preacher !" 
she exclaimed, lifting her pretty hands. 

They turned through a high arched iron gateway, 
across which was written in gold letters, "Oakwood." 

On a gently rising hill on the banks of the Catawba 
River rose a splendid old Southern mansion, its big Greek 
columns gleaming through the green trees like polished 
ivory. A wide porch ran across the full width of the 
house behind the big pillars, and smaller columns sup- 
ported the full sweep of a great balcony above. The 
house was built of brick with Portland cement finish 
and the whole painted in two shades of old ivory, with 
moss-green roof and dark rich Pompeian red brick 
foundations. With its green background of magnolia 



The Morning of Love 217 

trees it seemed like a huge block of solid ivory flashing 
in splendour from its throne on the hill. The drive 
wound down a little dale, around a great circle filled 
with shrubbery and flowers, and up to the pillared 
porte-cochere. 

"What a beautiful home!" Gaston exclaimed, with 
intense feeling. 

"It is beautiful, isn't it !" she said with delight. "I 
love every brick in its walls, every tree and flower and 
blade of grass." 

"I've always dreamed of a home like that. Those big 
columns seem to link one to the past and add dignity 
and meaning to life." 

"Then you can understand how I love it, when I was 
born here and every nook and corner has its love 
message for me from the past that I have lived, as well 
as its wider meaning which you see." 

"The old South built beautiful homes, didn't they?^ 
And that was one of the finest things about the proud 
old days," he said. 

"Yes; and the new South of which you spoke 
to-day will not forget this heritage of the old, when 
it comes to itself and shakes off its long suffering 
and poverty." 

Strange to hear that sort of a speech from a girl who 
loves society, dances divinely and dresses to kill. He 
thought of the words of his foster mother with a pang. 
He hoped she was joking about those things. But he 
had a strong suspicion from the consciousness of power 
with which she had tried once or twice to tease him that 
they were going to prove fatally true. 

"Mother tells me you were in Baltimore, in that swell 
girls' school on North Charles Street, when I was a 
student at the University?" 

"Yes; and we gave reception after reception to the 



218 The Leopard's Spots 

Hopkins men and you never once honoured us with 
your presence." 

"But I didn't know you were there, Miss Sallie." 

"Of course not! If you had, I wouldn't speak to 
you now. They said you were a recluse — that you 
never went into society and didn't speak to a woman 
for four years." 

"How did you hear that?" 

"Bob St. Clare told me after I came home by way of 
apology for your bad manners in so shamefully neglecting 
a young woman from your own state." 

"I'll make amends now." 

"Oh ! I'm not suffering from loneliness as I did then. 
You know Bob put us up to inviting you to deliver the 
address. He said you were the only orator in North 
Carolina." 

"Bob's the best friend I ever had. We entered 
college together at fifteen, and became inseparable 
friends." 

He helped her from the carriage and she ran lightly up 
the high stoop. 

"Now come here and look at the view of the river 
before Papa comes and begins to talk about the tremen- 
dous water-power in the falls." 

He followed her to the end of the long porch over- 
looking the river. Behind the house the hill abruptly 
plunged downward to the water's edge in a mountainous 
cliff. The river wound around this cliff past the house, 
emerging into a valley where it described a graceful 
curve, almost doubling on itself, and rolled softly away 
amid green overhanging willows and towering syca- 
mores till lost in the distance toward the blue spurs of 
King's Mountain. 

"A glorious view!" said Gaston, looking long and 
lovingly at the silver surface of the river. 



The Morning of Love 219 

"Do you love the water, Mr. Gaston?" 

"Passionately. I was born among the hills, but the 
first time I saw the ocean sweeping over five miles of 
sand reefs and breaking in white thundering spray at 
my feet I stood there on a sand-dune on our wild coast 
and gazed entranced for an hour without moving. Of 
all the things God ever made on this earth I love the 
waters of the sea, and all moving water suggests it to 
me. That river says, I must hurry to the sea !" 

"It is strange we should have such similar tastes," 
she said, seriously. But it did not seem strange to him. 
Somehow he expected to find her agree with every 
whim and fancy of his nature. 

"Now we will find Mamma. She is such an invalid 
she rarely goes out. Papa will be home any minute." 

"We are glad to welcome you, Mr. Gaston," said 
her mother in a kindly manner. "I'm sure you've 
enjoyed the drive this beautiful day, if Sallie hasn't 
been trying to tease you. The boys say she's very 
tiresome at times." 

"Why, Mamma, I'm surprised at you. The idea of 
such a thing ! There's not a word of truth in it, is there, 
Mr. Gaston?" 

"Certainly not, Miss Sallie. I'll testify, Mrs. Worth, 
that your daughter has been simply charming." 

She ran to meet her father at the door. There was 
the sound of a hearty kiss, a little whispering, and the 
General stepped briskly into the parlour where she had 
left her guest. 

"Pleased to welcome you to our home, young man. 
They say downtown that you made the greatest speech 
ever heard in Independence. Sorry I missed it. We'll 
have you to dinner anyway. I knew your brave father 
in the army. And now I come to think of it, I saw you 
once when you were a boy. I was struck with your 



22o The Leopard's Spots 

resemblance to your father then, as now. You showed 
me the way down to Tom Camp's house. Don't 
you remember?" 

"Certainly, General; but I didn't flatter myself that 
you would recall it." 

"I never forget a face. I hope you have been enjoy- 
ing yourself ? ' ' 

"More than I can express, sir." 

"I'll join you by and by," said the General, tak- 
ing leave. 

"Now isn't he a dear old Papa?" she said, demurely. 

"He certainly knows how to make a timid young 
man feel at home." 

"Are you timid?" 

"Hadn't you noticed it?" 

"Well, hardly." She shook her head and closed her 
eyes in the most tantalising way. "To see the cool 
insolence of conscious power with which you looked that 
great crowd in the face when you arose on that plat- 
form, I shouldn't say I was struck with your timidity." 

"I was really trembling from head to foot." 

"I wonder how you would look if really cool!" 

"Honestly, Miss Sallie, I never speak to any crowd 
without the intensest nervous excitement. I may put 
on a brave front, but it's all on the surface." 

"I can't believe it," she said, shaking her head. 

She looked at his serious face for a moment and 
was silent. 

"It's queer how we run out of something to say, 
isn't it?" she asked at length. 
* "I hadn't thought of it." 

' ' Come up to the observatory and I '11 show you Lord 
Cornwallis's lookout when he had his headquarters here 
during the Revolution." 

She lifted her soft, white skirts and led the way up 



The Morning of Love 221 

the winding mahogany stairs into the observatory from 
which the surrounding country could be seen for miles. 

"Here Lord Cornwallis waited in vain for Colonel 
Ferguson to join him with his regiment from King's 
Mountain." 

"Where my great-grandfather was drawing around 
him his cordon of death with his fierce mountain men," 
interrupted Gaston. 

"Was your great-grandfather in that battle?" 

"Yes. It was fought on his land, and his two-story 
log house with the rifle holes cut in the chimney-jambs 
still stands." 

"Then we will shake hands again," she cried, with 
enthusiasm, "for we are both children of the Revolu- 
tion!" 

Gaston took her beautiful hand in his and held it 
lingeringly. Never in all his life had the mere touch of 
a human hand thrilled him with such strange power. 
How long he held it he could not tell, but it was 
with a sort of hurt surprise he felt her gently 
withdraw it at last. 

They had reached the parlour again, and he slowly 
fell into an easy chair. 

"Do you dance, Miss Sallie?" 

"Why, yes; don't you dance?" 

"Never tried in my life." 

"Don't you approve of dancing?" 

"I never had time to think about it. It always 
seemed silly to me." 

"It's great fun." 

"I'd take lessons if you would agree to teach me and 
I could dance with you all the time and keep all the 
other fellows away." 

"Well, I must say that's doing fairly well for a timid 
young man's first day's acquaintance. What will you 



222 The Leopard's Spots 

say when you once become fully self-possessed?" She 
lifted her high-arched eyebrows and looked at him with 
her blue eyes full of tantalising fun until he had to look 
down at the floor to keep from saying more than he 
dared. When he looked up again he changed the 
subject. 

"Miss Sallie, I feel like I've known you ever since I 
was born." She blushed and made no reply. 

Dinner was announced, and Gaston was amazed to 
see Allan McLeod enter, chattering familiarly with the 
General. He seemed on the most intimate terms with 
the family, and his eye lingered fondly on Sallie's face 
in a way that somehow Gaston resented as an im- 
pertinence. 

"I didn't even know you were acquainted with the 
Honourable Allan McLeod, Miss Sallie," said Gaston, as 
they entered the parlour alone. 

"Yes; he was a sort of ward of Papa's when he was 
a boy. Papa hates his politics, but he has always been 
in and out almost like one of the family since I can 
remember. I think he's a fascinating man, don't you?" 

"I do; but I don't like him." 

"Well, he's a great friend of mine; you mustn't 
quarrel." 

Gaston went to the hotel with his brain in a whirl, 
wondering just what she meant. It was nearly twelve 
o'clock before he left the General's house. How he had 
passed these eleven hours he could not imagine. They 
seemed like eleven minutes in one way. In another he 
seemed to have lived a lifetime that day. 

"By George, she's an angel!" he kept saying over 
and over to himself as he climbed to his room, for- 
getting the elevator. 



CHAPTER VI 
BESIDE BEAUTIFUL WATERS 

WHEN Gaston tried to sleep he found it impo^ 
sible. His brain was on fire, every nerve 
quivering with some new mysterious power 
and his imagination soaring on tireless wings. He 
rolled and tossed an hour, then got up, and sat by 
his open window looking out over the city sleeping 
in the still, white moonlight. He looked into the 
mirror and grinned. 

"What is the matter with me!" he exclaimed. "I 
believe I'm going crazy." 

He sat down and tried to work the thing out by the 
formulas of cold reason. "It's perfectly absurd to say 
I'm in love. My wild romancing about a passion that 
will grasp all life in its torrent sweep is only a boy's day 
dream. The world is too prosy for that now." 

Yet in spite of this argument the room seemed as 
bright as day, and the moon was only a pale sister light 
to the radiance from the face of the girl he had seen 
that day. Her face seemed to him smiling close into 
his now. The light of her eyes was tender and soothing 
like the far-away memory of his mother's voice. 

"It's a passing fancy," he said at last, after he had 
sat an hour dreaming and dreaming of scenes he dared 
not frame in words even alone. He stood by the 
window again. 

"What a beautiful old world this is after all!" he 
thought, as he gazed out on the tops of the oaks whoss 

223 



224 The LeoparcTs Spots 

young leaves were softly sighing at the touch of the 
night winds. Turning his eye downward to the street 
he saw the men loading the morning papers into the 
wagons for the early mail. 

" I wonder what sort of report of my speech they put 
in?" he exclaimed. Unable to sleep, he hastily dressed, 
went down and bought a paper. 

On the front page was a flattering portrait, two 
columns in width, with a report of his speech filling the 
entire page, and an editorial review of a column and a 
half. He was hailed as the coming man of the state in 
this editorial, which contained the most extravagant 
praise. He knew it was the best thing he had ever 
done, and he felt for the minute proud of himself and 
his achievement. This contemplation of his own 
greatness quieted his nerves and he fell asleep. He 
was awakened by the first rolling of carts on the pave- 
ments at dawn. He knew he had not slept more than 
two hours, but he was as wide awake as though he had 
slept soundly all night. 

" I must be threatened with that spell of fever Auntie 
has been worrying about since I was a boy ! " he laughed 
as he slowly dressed. 

"It's now six o'clock, and my train don't leave tiU 
nine," he mused. "But am I going on that train? 
That's the question. " 

The fact was, now he came to think of it, there was 
no need of hurrying home. He would stay awhile and 
look this mystery in the face until he was disillusioned. 
Besides, he wanted to find out what McLeod's visit 
meant. He had a vague feeling of uneasiness when 
he recalled the way McLeod had assumed in the 
General's house. He had told Sallie he must hurry 
home on the morning's train for no earthly reason 
than that he had intended to do so when he came. 



Beside Beautiful Waters 225 

So after breakfast he wrote her a little note. 

"My Dear Miss Worth: My train left me. Will 
you have compassion on a stranger in a strange city 
and let me call to see you again to-day? 

" Charles Gaston." 

He waited impatiently until he heard his train leave, 
and then told the boy to make tracks for the General's 
house. 

A peal of laughter rang through the hall when Sallie's 
dancing eyes read that note. 

"Oh, the story-teller!" she cried. 

And this was the answer she sent back: 

"Certainly. Come out at once. Ill take you buggy 
driving all by myself over a lovely road up the river. 
I do this in acknowledgment of the gracious flattery 
you pay me in the story you told about the train. Of 
course I know you waited till the train left before you 
sent the note. Sallie Worth." 

" Now I wonder if that young rascal of a boy told her 
I wrote that note an hour ago? I'll wring his neck if 
he did. Come here, boy!" 

The Negro came up grinning in hopes of another 
quarter. 

1 ' Did you tell that young lady anything about when 
I wrote that note ? ' ' 

"Na-sah! Nebber tole her nuffin'. She des laugh 
and laugh fit ter kill herse'f des quick es she reads de 
note." 

Gaston smiled and threw him another tip. 

"Yassah, she's a knowin' lady, sho's you bawn. 1 
been dar lots er times 'fo' dis !" 



226 The Leopard's Spots 

Gaston was tempted to ask him for whom he carried 
those former messages. He walked with bounding 
steps, his being tingling to his finger-tips with the joy 
of living. The avenue leading the full length of the 
city toward the General's house was two miles long 
before it reached the woods at the gate. It seemed 
only a step this morning. 

As he passed through the cool shade of the woods a 
squirrel was playing hide and seek with his mate on the 
old crooked fence beside the road. His little nimble 
mistress flew up a great tree to its topmost bough and 
chattered and laughed at her lover as he scrambled 
swiftly after her. She waited until he was just reaching 
out his arm to grasp her, and then with another scream 
of laughter leaped straight out into the air to another 
tree-top, and then another and another until lost in the 
heart of the forest. 

"I wonder if that's going to be my fate !" he mused 
as he turned into the gateway. 

Again the majestic beauty of that gleaming mass of 
ivory on the hill with its green background swept his 
soul with its power. It seemed a different shade of 
colour now that he saw it with the sun at another 
angle. Its surface seemed to have the soft sheen of 
creamy velvet. 

He paused and sighed: "Why should I be so poor! 
If I only had a house like that I'd turn that big banquet 
hall on the left wing into a library, and I'd ask no 
higher heaven." 

And he fell to wondering if it would really be worth 
the having without the face and voice of the girl who 
was there within waiting for him. No; he was sure of 
it this morning for the first time in his life. The cer- 
tainty of this conviction brought to his heart a feeling 
of loneliness and despair. When he thought of his 



Beside Beautiful Waters 227 

abject poverty and the long years of struggle before him, 
and of that beautiful accomplished young woman, rich, 
petted, the belle of the city, the gulf that separated their 
lives seemed impassable. 

"I'm playing with fire," he said to himself as he 
looked up at the graceful pillars with their carved and 
fluted capitals. "Well, let it be so. Let me live life to 
its deepest depths and its highest reach. It is better to 
love and lose than never to love at all." And he 
walked into the cool hall with the ease and assurance 
of its master. 

Sallie greeted him with the kindliest grace. 

"I'm so glad you stayed to-day, Mr. Gaston. I 
should have been really chagrined to think I made so 
slight an impression on you that you could walk delib- 
erately away on a prearranged schedule. I am not 
used to being treated so lightly." 

He tried to make some answer to this half-serious 
banter, but was so absorbed in just looking at her he 
said nothing. 

She was dressed in a morning gown of a soft red 
material, trimmed with old cream lace. The material 
of a woman's dress had never interested him before. 
He knew calico from silk, but beyond that he never 
ventured an opinion. To colour alone he was responsive. 
This combination of red and creamy white, with the 
bodice cut low, showing the lines of her beautiful white 
shoulders, and the great mass of dark hair rising in 
graceful curves from her full round neck, heightened 
her beauty to an extraordinary degree. As she walked 
the clinging folds of her dress, outlining her queenly 
figure, seemed part of her very being and to be imbued 
with her soul. He was dazzled with the new revelation 
of her power over him. 

"Have you no apology, sir, for pretending that you 



228 The Leopard's Spots 

were going home this morning ? " she said, seating herself 
by his side. 

"You didn't ask me to stay with fervour." 

"It ought not to have been necessary." 

"Didn't you really know I was not going?" 

"Yes." 

"I'm glad." 

"Yes; you see, I'm twenty-one years old, and I've 
seen such things happen before." She purred this 
slowly and burst into laughter. 

"Now, Miss Sallie, that's cruel to throw me down 
in a heap of dead dogs I don't even know." 

"Don't you like dogs?" 

" Four-legged ones, yes. But I like my friends alive." 

"Oh ! It didn't kill any of them. They are all strong 
and hearty. But if you're so domestic in your tastes 
why haven't you settled in life ? " 

"Been waiting to find the woman of my dreams." 

"And you haven't found her?" 

"Not up to yesterday." 

"Oh! I forgot," she said archly; "you're so timid! " 

"Honestly, I was." 

"Up to yesterday!" she murmured. "Well, tell me 
what your dreams demanded ? What kind of a creature 
must she be?" 

"I have forgotten." 

"What! Forgotten the dreams of your ideal 
woman? " 

"Yes." 

"Since when?" 

"Yesterday." 

"Thanks. We are getting on beautifully, aren't we? 
You will get over your timidity in time, I'm sure." 

He smiled, looked down at the pattern of the carpet 
and did not speak for some minutes. His soul was 



Beside Beautiful Waters 229 

thrilled and satisfied in her presence. As he lifted his 
eyes from the floor they rested on the piano. 

" Will you play for me, Miss Sallie ? Auntie says you 
play delightfully." 

"Auntie? Who is Auntie?" 

"Mrs. Durham, my foster mother, of course. Excuse 
my unconscious assumption of your familiarity with all 
my antecedents. I can't get over the impression that 
I have known you all my life." 

"And that reminds me that I started to say some- 
thing to you yesterday that was perfectly ridiculous, 
but caught myself in time." 

"I wish you had said it." 

"Mrs. Durham is a great flatterer of those she loves. 
She thinks I can play. But I'm the veriest amateur." 

"Let me be the judge." 

She was looking over her music, and he had opened 
the piano. 

"I'll play for you with pleasure. Sit there in that big 
armchair. I'm sorry I tired you so early in the day 
with my chatter." 

And before he could protest her fingers were touching 
the piano with the ease of the born musician. 

He sat enraptured as he watched the sinuous grace 
with which her fingers touched the ivory keys, and 
heard their answering cry, which seemed the breath 
of her ow -oul in echo. 

She had an easy, apparently careless touch. To old, 
familiar music she gave a charm that was new, adding 
something indefinable to the musician's thought that 
gave luminous power to its interpretation. He had no 
knowledge of the technique of music, but now he knew 
that she was improvising. The piano was the voice of 
her own beautiful soul, and it was pulsing with a tender- 
ness that melted him to tears. 



230 The Leopard's Spots 

Suddenly the music ceased, and she turned her face 
full on his before he could brush away a big tear that 
rolled down. She flushed, closed the piano, and quietly 
resumed her place by his side. 

"And, now, you haven't told me how well I played. 
You're the first young man so careless." 

"I have told you." 

"How?" 

"The way you told me yesterday that you under- 
stood me — with a tear." 

"I appreciate it more than words." 

"So did I," he slowly said. Again a long silence. 

" But we do love to hear folks say in words what they 
think sometimes. I confess I was immensely elated 
over the fine things the paper said about me this 
morning." 

"It's a wonder, too. Our editor is a cranky sort of 
fellow. I was afraid he'd say a lot of mean things about 
you. But Papa says you swallowed him whole." 

"Did you wish him to say kind things about me? " 

"Of course," she said, and then the look of mischief 
came back in her eye. "Were you not our guest? I 
should have felt like whipping him if he hadn't said 
nice things." 

"Then I'll tell you what I think about your playing. 
You gave those strings a soul for the first time for me — • 
beautiful, living, throbbing, that spoke a r ^sage of its 
own. The piece you improvised I shall never forget. 
Such music seems to me the grasping of the infinite by 
hands that touch the impalpable and bringing it for a 
moment within the sphere of matter that a kindred soul 
may hear and see and feel." 

She started to make some reply, but her lips quivered 
and she looked away across the valley at the river and 
made no answer. 



Beside Beautiful Waters 231 

At dinner the General was in his most genial mood, 
laughing and joking, and drawing out Gaston on politics 
and cotton-mill developments, and trying with all his 
might to tease his daughter. 

As he took his departure for the mills, he said : "Young 
man, I'd ask you to go with me and look at the machin- 
ery, but I see it's no use. I heard her twisting you around 
her finger with that piano awhile ago." 

"Papa, don't be so silly!" cried Sallie, slipping her 
arm around him, putting one hand over his mouth, and 
kissing him. "Go on to your work. I'll entertain 
Mr. Gaston." 

"Indeed you will !" he shouted, throwing her another 
kiss as he left. 

"He's the dearest father any girl ever had in this 
world. I know you loved yours, didn't you, Mr. 
Gaston?" 

"Mine was killed in battle, Miss Sallie. I never knew 
him. But I had the most beautiful mother that ever 
lived. I lost her when a mere boy. And the world 
has never been the same since. I envy you." 

"I forgot. Forgive me," she softly said, looking up 
into his face with tenderness. 

" If I had only had a sister ! How my heart used to 
ache when I'd see other boys playing with a sister ! My 
poor little starved soul was so hungry I would go off 
in the woods sometimes and cry for hours." 

"I wish I had known you when you were a little 
boy — I can't conceive of a dignified orator swaying 
thousands running around as a barefoot boy. But 
you must have gone barefoot, for I think Papa said 
so, didn't he?" 

"Indeed I did, and sometimes I am afraid for the 
very good reason I didn't have any shoes." 

"Well, you wouldn't have worn them if you had. I 



232 The Leopard's Spots 

always wanted to be a boy just to go barefooted. I 
think girls lose so much of a child's life by having to 
wear shoes." 

"But you never knew what it meant to want shoes 
and not be able to have them," he said, looking at the 
shining tips of her slippers peeping from the edge of 
her dress. 

1 ' No ; but I never thought these things made a great 
difference in our lives, after all. I believe it is what we 
are, not what we have, that gives life meaning." 

He looked at her intently. 

" I must get ready now for our drive. The horse will 
be here in ten minutes. Enjoy the view on the porch 
until I am ready," and she bounded up the stairs to 
her room. 

In a few minutes she was by his side again, dressed in 
spotless white as he had seen her first. She lifted the 
lines over the sleek horse and he dashed swiftly down 
the drive. 

Oh, the peace and bliss of that drive along the lonely 
river road by its cool green banks ! 

How he poured out to her his inmost thoughts — things 
he had not dared to whisper alone with himself and God. 
And then he wondered why he had thus laid bare his 
secret dreams to this girl he had known but twenty- 
four hours. Nonsense ! Down in his soul he knew he had 
known her forever. Before the world was made, ages 
and ages ago in eternity, he had known her. He turned 
to her now, drawn by a resistless force, as a plant turns 
toward the sunlight for its life. How he could talk that 
day ! All he had ever known of art and beauty, all 
he knew of the deep truths of life, were on his lips, leap- 
ing forth in simple but impassioned words. For hours 
he lay at her feet where she sat on a rock, high up on 
the cliffs overlooking the river, and poured out his heart 



Beside Beautiful Waters 233 

like a child. And she listened with a dreamy look as 
though to the music of a master. 

At last she sprang to her feet and looked at her 
watch. 

"Oh! Mamma will be furious. It will be after sun- 
down before we can get home. We must hurry." 

"I'll make it all right with your Mamma," he replied, 
as though he were skilled in meeting such emergencies. 

"Don't you speak to her. It'll be all I can do to 
manage her." 

The twilight was gathering when they reached the 
house, and an angry, anxious mother was waiting high 
up on the stoop. 

"Watch me smooth every wrinkle out of her brow 
now," she whispered, as she flew up the steps. 

Before her mother could say a word, a white hand was 
on her mouth and pretty lips were whispering some- 
thing in her ears she had never heard before. There 
was the sound of a kiss, and he heard Sallie say, "Not 
a word!" 

And the mother greeted him with a smile and a 
curiously searching look. She chatted pleasantly until 
her daughter returned from her room, and then left her. 
Again it was nearly twelve o'clock before he reached 
the hotel. 

The next morning Bob St. Clare broke in on him 
before he was out of bed. 

" Look here, you sly dog, what are you doing slipping 
and sliding around here yet?" 

" Bob, you're the man I want to see. Tell me all you 
know about the Worths." 

' ' The Worths ? Which one ? " 

"There's only one so far as I can see." 

"Well, you may find out there's two if you should 
happen to collide with the General." 



234 Th e Leopard's Spots 

"Does he cut up at times?" 

11 He's all right till he turns on you, and then you want 
to find shelter." 

"Did you ever run up against him?" 

"No; I never got that far. He's hail-fellow-well-met 
with every youngster in town. He will laugh and joke 
about his daughter until he thinks she is in earnest about 
a fellow, and then he swoops down on him like a hawk. 
I'll bet a hundred dollars he's playing you now for all 
you're worth against the latest favourite. But Miss 
Sallie — she's an angel!" 

"Look here, Bob, you're not in love with her?" 

"Well, I'm convalescing at present, my boy. Every 
boy in town has been there, but I don't believe she 
cares a snap for a man of us unless it's that big red- 
headed McLeod. I can't make his position out exactly." 

"Did she jolt you hard when you hit the ground?" 

"Easiest thing you ever saw. She has a supreme 
genius for painless cruelty. When the time comes she 
can pull your eye tooth out in such a delicate, friendly 
way you will have to swear she hasn't hurt you." 

"You still go?" 

"Lord, yes; we all do — sort of a congress of the lost 
meet down there. They all hang on. She keeps the 
friendship of every poor devil she kills." 

"You know you make the cold chills run down my 
back when you talk like that." 

"Are you in love with her, Gaston?" 

"To tell you the truth, I don't know." 

"Then what in the thunder have you been doing out 
there two days and nights, if you haven't made love 
to her?" 

"Just basking in the sun." 

"Well, you are a fool. Eleven hours the first dap 
and fifteen hours yesterday. Confound you ! Don't you 



Beside Beautiful Waters 235 

know a dozen fellows in town are cursing you for all 
they can think of?" 

"What about?" 

"Why, for trying to hog the whole time, day and 
night. She won't let a mother's son of them come 
near till you're gone." 

"Well, that's immense!" exclaimed Gaston, slapping 
his friend on the back. 

11 Don't be too sure ! She's just sizing you up. She's 
done the same thing a dozen times before." 

"I don't believe it." 

And he didn't go home until the end of the week, 
when the last cent of his money was gone. 



CHAPTER VII 
DREAMS AND FEARS 

HE was on the train at last, homeward bound. 
Gazing out of the window of the car, he was 
trying to find where he stood. He must 
be in love. He faced the remarkable fact that he had 
spent a whole week in Independence at an expensive 
hotel, and squandered every cent of the small fee he had 
received for his address, in what would be otherwise a 
perfectly senseless manner. 

Yet he felt rich. He was sure he had never spent 
money so wisely and economically in his life. Beyond 
the shadow of a doubt he was in love — desperately and 
hopelessly committed to this one girl for life. He said 
it in his heart with a shout of triumph. Life was not a 
sterile desert of brute work. It was true. Love, the 
magician of the ages, lived in this world of lost faiths 
and dead religions. 

Now that he was leaving he felt a tingling impulse to 
leap off the train, cut across the fields and run back to 
her — and he laughed aloud, just as the train came to a 
sudden stop, and everybody looked at him and smiled. 

A drummer looked up from a novel he was reading 
and said: 

"It is a fine day, partner, isn't it?" 

"Never saw a finer," answered Gaston, with another 
happy laugh. 

He dwelt long and greedily on the consciousness of 
this new vitalising secret he felt for the first time throb- 

236 



Dreams and Fears 237 

bing in his soul. He bathed his heart in its warmth 
until he could feel the red blood rush to the ends of his 
fingers with its new fever. He breathed its perfume 
until every nerve quivered. "I have never lived 
before. No matter now if I die, I have lived," he said, 
slowly and reverently. 

He wondered long and wistfully what was in her 
heart while this wild tumult was going on in him. He 
wondered if it were possible she loved him. It seemed 
too good to be true. He was afraid to believe it. And 
yet his whole soul with every power of his being cried 
out that she did. He could not have been mistaken in 
the message he read in the liquid depths of her eyes 
and the delicate tenderness of her voice. "Words may 
say nothing, but these signs are the language of the 
universal. Still, others had been equally sure, and been 
deceived. Might not he, too, make the fatal mistake ? 
It was possible. And there was the pain. 

She had not uttered a single word in all the hours 
they spent together that might not be interpreted in a 
conventional, meaningless way. 

Yet he had given to every one of these words a soul 
meaning that spoke directly to his inner being and not 
his ear. 

He had never spoken a word of shallow love-making 
to a woman in his life. To him love was too holy a 
mystery. It would have been the blasphemy of the 
Holy Ghost — a sin that would not be forgiven in this 
world or the world to come. His college mates had 
called him a crank on this subject, but he shut his 
lips in a way that always closed the argument, and they 
let him alone with his Idol. 

"I am afraid yet to put it to the test," he said 
at last. " I must have time to reveal my best self to 
her. I must see her again, live close to her day by 



238 The Leopard's Spots 

day, and bring to bear on her every power of bod) 
and soul I possess." 

Mrs. Durham met him with dancing eyes. "Oh, I've 
heard from you, sir!" 

"Kiss me, Auntie, and be kind. I'm in the last 
stages of delirium." 

He took both her hands in his and looked at her long. 
"How good you've been to me, Auntie, in all the past. 
You never looked so beautiful as to-day. I want to 
thank you for every word you've said to Miss Sallie for 
me. It may have helped just a little, anyway." 

"Well, you are indeed in the last stages 1" she 
exclaimed, gleefully. 

"And you are glad of it?" 

"Of course I am; it will make a man of you." 

"But suppose I lose?" 

She was silent a moment and then slipped her arm 
gently about him, drew down his ear and whispered: 
"You shall not lose !, I've set my heart on it." 

He pressed her hand and said, "How like my sweet 
mother's voice was that!" 

And then they fell to discussing plans for giving Miss 
Sallie and her friend a jolly time at the Springs. 

"But, Auntie, these plans don't seem to me exactly 
what I'd like. You see, I want to be the whole thing. 
It may be hopelessly selfish, but I can't help it." 

"Well, that isn't best." 

"Say, Auntie, what do I look like, anyway? How 
would you describe my make-up ? Let's get at the weak 
•spots and splint them up a little. You know, I never 
seriously cared a rap before about my looks." 

"Well," she answered, slowly regarding him, "I'll 
be perfectly frank with you. You are tall — at least 
two inches taller than the average man, and your 
muscular body gives one the impression of power. You 



Dreams and Fears 239 

have black hair, dark-brown eyes that look out from 
your shaggy, straight eyebrows with a piercing light." 

"You think the brows too shaggy?" 

"No; I like them. They suggest reserve power and 
brain capacity." 

" Good ! I never thought of that." 

"You have a face that is massive, almost leonine, and 
a square-cut, determined mouth, that, always clean- 
shaven, sometimes looks too grim." 

"I'll remember that and look pleasant." 

"You have a big hand and sometimes shake hands 
too strongly. You have a handsome, aristocratic foot 
when you wear decent shoes. You often walk hump- 
shouldered, and sit so, too." 

"I'll brace up." 

"You have deep vertical wrinkles between your eyes 
just where your straight eyebrows meet." 

"Heavens, I didn't know I had wrinkles!" 

"Yes; but they mean habits of thought, like your 
stooping shoulders. I don't object to such wrinkles in a 
man's face. But the best feature of all your stock is 
your eye. Your big brown eyes are about the only 
perfect thing about you. There's infinite tenderness in 
them. Now and then they gleam with a hidden fire 
that tells of enthusiasm, thought, will, character, and 
dauntless courage." 

She looked and they were misty with tears. 

He pressed her hand. "Auntie, I didn't know how 
much you've loved me all these years. How love opens 
one's eyes!" 

"You have a high temper, plenty of pride, and are 
given to looking on the dark side of things too quickly, 
You lack poise of character and sureness of touch yet» 
but with it all yours is a masterful nature." 

"One you think that a perfect woman could love?* fi 



240 The Leopard's Spots 

"There are no perfect women; but I'll match you 
against any woman I know. So there, now, take 
courage." 

"I will," he gravely answered. 

He hurried to his office and read his mail. There 
were two letters retaining his services for jury work in 
important cases. His heart leaped at the sign of coming 
success. What a new meaning love gave to every 
event in life. 

He turned to his books and began immediately a 
searching study of every question involved in these 
cases. He would carry the court by storm. He would 
lead the jury spellbound by his eloquence to a certain 
verdict. How clear his brain ! He felt he was alive to 
his finger-tips, and argus-eyed. 

He worked hour after hour without the slightest 
fatigue or knowledge of the flight of time. He looked 
up at last with surprise to find it was night, and was 
startled by the voice of the Preacher calling him from 
below. 

"What's the matter with you? Mrs. Durham sent 
ine to find you. She was afraid you had gone up on 
the roof and walked off." 

"I'll be ready in a minute, Doctor," he called from 
the window. 

"I haven't known you to take to law so violently in 
four years. What's up? Got a capital case?" 

"Yes, I believe I have. It's a matter of life and 
death to one poor soul, anyhow." 

"Now, honour bright, haven't you been working all 
this afternoon on a love-letter that you've just finished 
and addressed to Independence?" 

"No, sir. To tell you the fact, I didn't dare to ask 
her to write to me. I knew I couldn't control a pen." 

"My boy, I wish you success with all my heart. It 



Dreams and Fears 241 

makes me young again to look into your face. I've 
had my supper. When you've finished your confab 
with your Auntie, come out here in the square to 
the seat under the old oak; I want to talk to you 
on some important business." 

"What have you been doing?" asked Mrs. Durham. 

"Building a home for her! " he cried in a whisper, 
lie went behind the chair where his foster mother 
sat pouring his tea, bent low and kissed her high white 
forehead. "My own Mother — I'll never call you 
Auntie again !" 

Tears sprang to her eyes, and she kissed his hand, 
tenderly holding it to her lips. 

"Ah! Love is a wonder-worker, isn't he, Charlie?" 

"Yes; and I can't realise the joy that lifts and inspires 
me when I think that I am one of the elect. It's too 
good to be true. I have been initiated into the great 
secret. I have tasted the water of Life. I shall not 
see Death." 

She looked at him with pride. "I knew you would 
make a matchless lover. I envy Sallie her young eyes 
and ears." 

"You need not envy he*. You will never grow old." 

"So much the worse if we miss the dreams that fill 
the souls of the young," she said, with an accent of 
sorrowful pride. 



CHAPTER VIII 
THE UNSOLVED RIDDLE 

GASTON found the Preacher quietly smoking, 
seated on the rustic under a giant oak that stood 
in the corner of the square. 

Under this tree the speakers' stand had always been 
built for joint debates in political campaigns. 

Here, when a boy, he had heard the great debate 
between Zebulon B. Vance and Judge Thomas Settle 
in the fierce campaign which followed the overthrow of 
Legree when the Republican party, under the leader- 
ship of Judge Settle, made its desperate effort for life. 
Settle, who was a man of masterful personality, eloquent, 
and in dead earnest in his appeal for a new South, had 
made a speech of great power to a crowd that were 
hostile to every idea for which he stood; and yet he 
dazzled or stunned them into sullen silence. 

And then he recalled with flashes of memory vivid as 
lightning the miracle that had followed. He could see 
Vance now as he slowly lifted his big lion-like head, and 
calmly looked over the sea of faces with eagle eyes 
that could flash with resistless humour or blaze with the 
fury of elemental passion. He reviewed the terrible 
past in which he had played the tragic r61e of their war 
Governor, and tore into tatters with the facts of history 
the logic of his opponent. And then he opened his 
batteries of wit and ridicule — wit that cut to the 
heart's red blood, and yet convulsed the hearer with its 
unexpected turn. Ridicule that withered and scorched 

242 



The Unsolved Riddle 243 

what it touched into ashes. Five thousand people now 
in breathless suspense as he swung them into heaven 
on the wings of deathless words, now screaming with 
laughter and now hushed in tears. 

The scene that followed this triumph ! Two stalwart 
mountain men snatched him from the rostrum and bore 
him on their shoulders through the shouting, weeping 
crowd. Women pressed close and kissed his hands, and 
old men reached forward their hands to touch his 
garments. Ah, if he could inherit the power of this king 
among men ! To-night, as Gaston walked under that 
tree with his heart beating with the ecstasy of a new- 
found source of life, he felt that he could do, and that 
he would do, what the master had done before him. 

"Charlie, I've heard some startling news since you 
left home, and I can't sleep nights thinking about it." 

" You've heard of McLeod's scheme." 

"Exactly. And it means the ruin of this state and 
the ruin of the South unless it can be defeated." 

" How are you going to do it ? " 

"It's a puzzle, but it's got to be done. Half the 
farmers in the strongholds of Democracy are crazy over 
their fool Sub-Treasury and a hundred other fakir 
dreams. McLeod has promised them everything — Sub- 
Treasury, pumpkin leaves for money — anything they 
want if they will join forces with his niggers and carry 
the state. You are the man to begin now a quiet but 
thorough organisation of the young men and oust the 
fools from control of the party. 

"When the white race begin to hobnob with the 
Negro and seek his favour they must grant him absolute 
equality. That means ultimately social as well as 
political equality. You can't ask a man to vote for you 
and kick him down your front doorstep and tell him 
to come around the back way." 



244 The Leopard's Spots 

"I think you exaggerate the social danger, but I see 
the political end of it." 

"I don't exaggerate in the least. I am looking into 
the future. This racial instinct is the ordinance of our 
life. Lose it and we have no future. One drop of 
Negro blood makes a Negro. It kinks the hair, flattens 
the nose, thickens the lip, puts out the light of intellect, 
and lights the fires of brutal passions. The beginning 
of Negro equality as a vital fact is the beginning of the 
end of this nation's life. There is enough Negro blood 
here to make mulatto the whole Republic." 

"Such a danger seems too remote for serious alarm 
to me," replied the younger man. 

"Ah! There's the tragedy! " passionately cried the 
Preacher. "You younger men are growing careless and 
indifferent to this terrible problem. It's the one 
unsolved and unsolvable riddle of the coming century. 
Can you build, in a Democracy, a nation inside a nation 
of two hostile races ? We must do this or become mulatto, 
and that is death. Every inch in the approach of these 
races across the barriers that separate them is a move- 
ment toward death. You cannot seek the Negro vote 
without asking him to your home sooner or later. If 
you ask him to your house, he will break bread with you 
at last. And if you seat him at your table, he has the 
right to ask your daughter's hand in marriage." 

"It seems to me a far cry to that. But I see the 
political crisis. What is your plan?" 

"This — organise the young Democracy in every 
township in the state and put yourself at its head, 
control the primaries and down the old crowd. They 
have got to follow you. Fight the campaign with the 
desperation of despair. If you are defeated, God 
have mercy on us, but you will be ready for the 
next battle." 



The Unsolved Riddle 245 

"I'll do it ! " said Gaston, with emphasis. 

"Then I want you to go on a mission to Colonel Duke, 
the President of the National Farmers' Alliance. He's 
a good Baptist. He means well, but he's crazy. He 
dreams of the Presidency when he has established the 
Sub-Treasury for the farmers. He's afraid of the Negro, 
and is nervous about using him. He knows I am the 
most influential Baptist preacher in the state. Tell 
him I say you will win, and that we will give him 
the nomination for Governor and put him in line for 
the Presidency." 

"When shall I go to see him?" 

"Immediately. Get ready to-night." 

The next week McLeod was seated in his office at 
Hambright receiving reports from his political hench- 
men at Raleigh. 

"I tell you, McLeod, there's a hitch. Something's 
dropped. Duke's as coy as a maid of sixteen. He says 
no decision can be made now until he submits a lot of 
rot to all the lodges of the Alliance and the 'Referen- 
dum' decides these points. You'd better get hold of 
him and comb the kinks out of him quick." 

McLeod's eyes flashed with anger as he twisted the 
points of his red mustache. 

"It's that damned Baptist Preacher ! " he said. "I'll 
get even with him yet if it's the only thorough job I do 
on this earth." 



CHAPTER IX 
THE RHYTHM OF THE DANCE 

BEFORE boarding the train he was to take for 
Raleigh, he lingered with Mrs. Durham talking, 
talking, talking about the wonder of his love. 
As he rose to leave he said, "Now, Mother, dear " 

"Charlie, you just say that so beautifully as to make 
me your slave." 

"Of course I do. What I was going to say is, I 
can't write to her. I don't dare. You can. Tell her all 
about me, won't you? Everything that you think 
will interest and please her, and that will be discreet. 
Your intuitions will tell you how far to go. Tell her 
how hard I'm working and what an important mission 
I've undertaken, and the tremendous things that hang 
on its outcome. And tell her how impatiently I'm 
waiting for her to come to the Springs. Be sure to tell 
her that." 

"All right. I'll act as your attorney in you absence. 
But hurry back; she must not get here first. I want 
you to be on the spot." 

"I'll be here if I have to give up politics and go 
into business — and you know how I hate that word 
'business.'" 

"I'll telegraph you if she comes." 

"Don't let her come till I get back. Tell her the hotel 
isn't fit to receive guests yet — it never is, for that matter 
— but anything to give me time to get here." 

He worked with indomitable courage for two weeks, 

246 



The Rhythm of the Dance 247 

visiting the principal towns in the state, and everywhere 
arousing intense enthusiasm. There was something 
contagious in his spirit. The young fellows were 
charmed by his eager, intense way of looking at things ; 
they caught the infection and he made hundreds of 
staunch friends. 

"You're just in time!" cried his mother, greeting 
him with radiant face on his return. "She is coming 
to-morrow. I've a beautiful letter from her — I think 
one of the sweetest letters a girl ever wrote." 

"Let me see it !" 

"No." 

"Why, Mother, I thought you were all on my side !" 

"But I'm not. I'm a woman, and you can't see 
some things she says." 

"Then it's something awfully nice about me." 

"Maybe the opposite." 

"Then you'd resent it for me." 

"I love her, too, sir." 

"Let me see just the tip end of it where she signs 
her name?" 

"You can see that much; there " 

"Doesn't she write a lovely hand?" He looked long 
and tenderly. "That pretty name — Sallie ! So old- 
fashioned and so homelike. It's music, isn't it?" 

"I didn't know you could be so silly, Charlie." 

"It is funny, isn't it? You know I think, after 
all, we are made out of the same stuff, saint and 
sinner, philosopher and fool. The differences are only 
skin deep." 

"You don't think ~;he is made out of ordinary clay?" 

"Oh! Lord, no; I meant the men. Every woman is 
something divine to me. I think of God as a woman, 
not a man — a great loving Mother of all Life. If I 
ever saw the face of God it was in my mother's face." 



248 The Leopard's Spots 

"Hush! You will make me do anything you wish.'* 

"No, no; I don't want to see that letter unless you 
think it best." 

"Well, you will not see any more of it, sir." 

When Gaston met them at the depot with a carriage 
to take Sallie, her mother, and Helen Lowell, her 
Boston schoolmate, to the Springs, the first passenger 
to alight was Bob St. Clare. 

"What in the thunder are you doing here? This 
town is quarantined against you," said Gaston. 

"Hush !" said Bob, in a stage whisper. "She's here. 
There's her valise." 

"That's why you can't land. Two's company, 
three's a crowd. I like you, Bob, but I won't stand 
for this." 

The crowd was pouring off the train and had cut off 
Sallie's party in the center of the car. 

"Gaston, I just came up for your sake. I'm looking 
after Miss Lowell. I'm lost, ruined. Scared to say a 
word. I thought maybe you'd help me out. We'll 
pool chances. I'll talk for you and you talk for me." 

"It's a bargain, St. Clare." 

"I want a separate carriage — get me one quick!" 

In a few moments, the brief introduction over, 
Gaston was seated in the carriage facing Sallie and her 
mother, whirling along the road, over the long hills 
toward the Campbell Sulphur Springs in the woods, 
two miles from the town. 

How beautiful and fresh she looked to him even in a 
dusty travelling dress ! He was drinking the nectar 
from the depths of her eyes. 

"Now, don't you think Helen the prettiest girl you 
ever saw, Mr. Gaston?" she asked. 

"I hadn't noticed it." 

"Where were your eyes?" 



The Rhythm of the Dance 249 

"Elsewhere. I'm so glad you are going to spend a 
month at the Springs, Miss Sallie. I used to go to 
school there when a little boy. They had a girls' 
school there in the winter and boys under twelve 
were admitted. I know every nook and corner of 
the big forest back of the hotel. I'll see that you 
don't get lost." 

"That will be fine. But you must bring every good- 
looking boy in the county and make him bow down and 
worship Helen. She is not used to it, but she is tickled 
to death over these Southern boys, and I'm going to 
give her the best time she ever had in her life." 

"I'll do everything you command — except bow down 
myself. Bob's agreed to do that." 

She smiled in spite of her effort to look serious, and 
her mother pinched her arm. She laughed. 

"So you and Bob St. Clare were out there plotting 
before we could get out of the train?" 

"Nothing unlawful, I assure you." 

The first day she allowed Gaston to monopolise, and 
then began his torture. She declared there were others 
with whom she must be friendly. She determined 
to give a ball to Helen the next week, and began 
preparations. 

It was a new business for Gaston, but he did his best 
to please her, in a pathetic, half-hearted sort of way. 
He ran all sorts of errands, and executed her orders 
with tact. 

" Oh, Sallie, let the ball go ! I don't care for it. I 
can do nothing to ever repay you for the good time I've 
been having," said Helen, as they sat in her room one 
night. 

"We are going to have it, I tell you. I don't care 
how much Mr. Gaston sulks. I'm not taking orders 
from him." 



250 The Leopard's Spots 

"No; but you'd like to — you know it." 

"What an idea!" 

"You know you like him better than all the others 
put together." 

"Nonsense ! I'm as free as a bird ! " 

"Then what are you blushing for?" 

"I'm not." But her face was scarlet. 

"You Southern girls are so queer. The moment you 
like a man you're as si} 7 as a cat and deny that you even 
know him. When I find the man I love I don't care 
who knows it, if he loves me." 

"What do you think of Bob St. Clare?" 

"I like him." 

"Hasn't he made love to you yet?" 

"No; and the only one of the crowd who hasn't. I 
don't mind confessing that I never had love made to me 
before this visit. In Boston it's a serious thing for a 
young man to call once. The second call means a 
family council, and at the third he must make a declara- 
tion of his intentions or face consequences. Down 
here the boys don't seem to have anything to do 
except to make their girl friends happy, and feel they 
are the queens of the earth, and that their only mission 
is to minister to them. And some of your girls are 
engaged to six boys at the same time." 

"Don't you like it?" 

"It's glorious. I feel that if I hadn't come down 
here to see you I'd have missed the meaning of life." 

"Don't our boys make love beautifully?" 

"I never dreamed of anything like it. They make it 
so seriously, so dead in earnest, you can't help believing 
them." 

"And Bob hasn't said a word?" 

"Hasn't breathed a hint." 

"Then you have him sure. They are hit hard when 



The Rhythm of the Dance 251 

they are silent like that. Bob made love to me the 
second day he ever saw me." 

"Don't tease me, dear," said Helen, as she put her 
pretty rosy cheek against the dark beauty of the South. 
"Do you really think he likes me seriously?" 

"He's crazy about you, goose!" 

There was the sound of a kiss. 

"I can't tell stories about it like you, Sallie; I'm 
afraid I'm in love with him," she whispered. 

"Well, I'll make him court you to-morrow or have 
him thrashed, if you say so." 

"Don't you dare!" 

"Then do just as I tell you about this ball and get 
yourself up regardless." 

On the night of the ball, Gaston, sitting out on the 
porch, felt nervous and fidgety, like a fish out of water. 
He knew he had no business there, and yet he couldn't 
go away. They had a quarrel about the ball. Sallie 
had insisted that Gaston honour her by coming in 
evening dress whether he danced or not. 

"But, Miss Sallie, I'll feel like a fool. Everybody in 
the country knows that I never entered a ballroom." 

"Do you care so much what everybody thinks 
about you?" 

"No; but I care what I think of myself." 

"Well, if you don't come in full dress suit I won't 
speak to you." 

He turned pale in spite of his effort at self-control. 
Then a queer steel-like look came into his eyes. 

"I shall be more than sorry to fail to please you, but 
I have no dress suit. I have never had time for social 
frivolities. I can't afford to buy one for this occasion. 
I couldn't be nigger enough to hire one, so that's the 
end of it. 1*11 have to come dressed in my own fashion 
or stay at home." 



252 The Leopard's Spots 

"Then you can stay at home," she snapped. 

"I'll not do it," he coolly replied. 

"Well, I like your insolence." 

"I'm glad you do. I'll come as I come to all such 
functions, an outsider. I'll sit out here on the porch 
in the shadows and see it from afar. If I could only 
dance, I assure you I'd try to fill every number of your 
card. Not being able to do so, I simply decline to 
make a fool of myself." j 

"For that compliment I'll compromise with you. 
Wear that big pompous Prince Albert suit you spoke in 
at Independence and I'll come out on the porch and 
chat with you awhile." 

He sat there now in the shadows waiting for this ball 
to begin. It was a clear night the first week in June. 
The new moon was hanging just over the tree-tops. His 
heart was full to bursting with the thought that the 
girl he loved would, in a few minutes, be whirling over 
that polished floor to the strains of a waltz, with another 
man's arm around her. He never knew how deeply he 
hated dancing before — that rhythmic touch of the 
human body, set to the melody of motion, and voiced 
in the passionate cry of music. He felt its challenge 
to his love to mortal combat — his love that claimed 
this one woman as his own, body and soul. 

The music from the Italian band was in full swing, 
its plaintive notes instinct with the passion of sunny 
Italy, a music all Southern people love. 

He felt that he would choke. A sudden thought 
came to him. Tearing a sheet of paper from a note- 
book, he scrawled this line upon it: 

"Dear Miss Sallie: Please let me see you a moment 
in the parlour before you enter the ballroom. Gaston." 

At least he would see her in her ball costume first. 



The Rhythm of the Dance 253 

Yes, and if she should hate him for it, he would beg 
her not to dance that night. He saw McLeod, bowing 
and scraping in the ballroom, arrayed in faultless full 
dress, and glancing toward the door. He knew he was 
waiting for her to ask her to dance. How he would 
like to wring his handsome neck ! 

The boy returned immediately and said the lady was 
waiting in the parlour. He entered with a sense of 
fear and confusion. 

She came to him with her bare arm extended, a daz- 
zling vision of beauty. She was dressed in a creamy 
white crape ball gown, cut modestly decollete over her 
full bust and gleaming shoulders, sleeveless, and held 
with tiny straps across the curve of the upper arm. 

He was stunned. She smiled in triumph, conscious 
of her resistless power. 

"Forgive me for my selfishness in keeping you here 
just a moment from the rest. I wished to see you 
first/' 

"What! To inspect, like Mamma; to see if I look 
all right?" 

"No; with a mad desire to keep you as long as 
possible from the others." 

Then she looked up at him and said slowly and softly : 

"Would it please you very much if I were not to 
dance to-night? " 

"I wouldn't dare ask so selfish a thing of you. It is 
with you a simple habit of polite society, and you enjoy it 
as a child does play. I understand that, and yet if you 
do not dance to-night I feel as though I would crawl 
round this world on my hands and knees for you if you 
would ask it. There are men waiting for you in that 
ballroom whom I hate." 

She looked at him timidly as though she were afraid 
he was about to say too much, and replied: 



254 The Leopard's Spots 

"Then I will not dance to-night. I'll just preside 
over the ball and let Helen be the queen." 

"Words have no power to convey my gratitude. I 
count all my little triumphs in life nothing to this. You 
promised to join me on the porch. Don't change that 
part of the programme. I will talk to your mother 
until you come." 

Gaston went downstairs treading on air. He sought 
her mother and devoted himself to her with supreme 
tact. He discovered her tastes and prejudices and paid 
her that knightly deference some young men express 
easily and naturally to their elders. He had always 
been a favourite with old people. He prided himself 
on it. This faculty he regarded as a badge of honour. 
As he sat there and talked with this frail little woman 
his heart went out to her in a great yearning love. She 
was the mother of the bride of his soul. He would love 
her forever for that. No matter whether she loved him 
or hated him, he would love the mother who gave te 
his thirsty lips the water of Life. 

Drawn irresistibly by the magnetism of his mind 
and manner, Mrs. Worth forgot the flight of time and 
thought but a moment had passed when, an hour 
after the ball had opened, Sallie came out leaning 
on McLeod's arm. 

"Mamma, have you been monopolising Mr. Gaston 
for a whole hour?" 

"He hasn't been here a half -hour, Miss!" cried hei 
mother. 

"He's been here an hour and ten minutes. I'm going 
to tell Papa on you just as soon as I get home." 

"Go back to your dancing." 

" No, thank you; I have an engagement to take a walk 
with your beau. Come, Mr. Gaston." 

They walked to the spring and along the winding path 



The Rhythm of the Dance 255 

by the brook at the foot of the hill, and found a rustic 
seat. They were both silent for several moments. 

"I saw you were charming Mamma, or I would have 
come sooner." 

"I hope she likes me." 

"She has been praising you ever since your visit to 
Independence. I never saw her talk so long to a young 
man in my life before. You must have hypnotised her." 

"I hope so." 

A strange happiness filled her heart. She was afraid 
to look it in the face, and yet she dared to play with 
the thought. 

"Are you enjoying your triumph to-night ? I've had 
war inside." 

M I feel like I am the Emperor of the World and that 
the Evening Star is smiling on my court ! " 

She smiled, tossed her head, leaned against the tree 
and said: 

" I wonder if you are in the habit of saying things like 
that to girls?" 

"Upon my soul and honour, no." 

"Then thanks. I'll dream about that, maybe." 

They returned to the hotel and McLeod claimed her. 
They went back the same walk, and by a freak of fate he 
chose the same seat she had just vacated with Gaston. 

"Miss Sallie, you are of age now. You know that I 
have loved you passionately since you were a child. I 
have made my way in life ; I am hungry for a home and 
your love to glorify it. Why will you keep me waiting ? " 

"Simply because I know now I do not love you, 
Allan, and I never will. Once and forever, here, to-night 
I give you my last answer — I will not be your wife." 

"Then don't give the answer to-night — I can wait," 
he interrupted. " I am just on the threshold of a great 
career. Success is sure. I can offer you a dazzling 



256 The Leopard's Spots 

position. Don't give me such an answer. Leave the 
old answer — to wait." 

"No, I will not. I do not love you. If you were to 
become the President, it would not change this fact, and 
it is everything. " 

"Then you love another." 

"That is none of your business, sir. I have known 
you since childhood. I have had ample time to know 
my own mind." 

" All right; we will say good-by for the present. You 
have made me a laughing-stock of young fools, but I can 
stand it. I'll not give you up, and if I can't have you 
no other man shall." 

"If you leave my will out of the calculation you will 
make a fatal mistake." 

"Women have been known to change their wills." 

Before leaving her that night Gaston held her hand 
for an instant as he bade her good-by and said, "Miss 
Sallie, I thank you with inexpressible gratitude for the 
honour you have done me." 

"I've just been wondering what you have done to 
deserve it? " 

"Absolutely nothing — that's why it is so sweet. 
This has been the happiest day I ever lived. I cannot 
see you again before you go. I leave to-morrow on 
urgent business. May I come to Independence to see 
you?" 

"Yes; I'll be delighted to see you. Good-night." 

Gaston was the last to return to Hambright. He 
walked the two miles through the silent starlit woods. 
He took a short cut his bare feet had travelled as a boy, 
and with uncovered head walked slowly through the dim 
aisles of great trees. It was good, this cool silence and 
the soft mantle of the night about his soul. The stars 
whispered love. The wind sighed it through the leaves. 



The Rhythm of the Dance 257 

He had withdrawn from the church in his college 
days because he had grown to doubt everything — 
God, heaven, hell and immortality. To-night as he 
walked slowly home he heard that wonderful sentence 
of the Old Bible ringing down the ages, wet with 
tears and winged with hope: 

"God is love. 11 

He said it now softly and reverently, and the tears 
came unbidden from his soul. He felt close to the heart 
of things. He knew he was close to the heart of nature. 
What if nature was only another name for God ? And 
he whispered it again: 

"God is love." 

"Ah! If I only knew it I would bow down and 
worship Him forever!" he cried. 

When Sallie reached her mother's room that night 
Mrs. Worth was seated by her window. 

"Why didn't you dance? " 

"Didn't care to." 

"Sly Miss, you can't fool me. You didn't dance 
because Mr. Gaston couldn't. That was a dangerously 
loud way to talk to him." 

"How did you like him, Mamma? " 

"Come here, dear, and sit on the edge of my chair. 
I wish I knew when you were in earnest about a man. 
I like him more than I can tell you. He talked to me 
so beautifully about his mother that I wanted to kiss 
him. He is charming." 

"Why, Mamma!" 

"I'd like him for a son. There's a wealth of deep 
tenderness and manly power in him." 

"Mamma, you're getting giddy!" 

But she kissed her mother twice when she said 
good-night. 



CHAPTER X 
THE HEART OF A VILLAIN 

McLEOD had developed into a man of undoubted 
power. He was but thirty-two years old. 
and the dictator of his party in the state. 

He had the fighting temperament which Southern 
•people demand in their leaders. With this temperament 
he combined the skill of subtle diplomatic tact. He 
had no moral scruples of any kind. The problem of 
expediency alone interested him in ethics. 

McLeod's pet aversion was a preacher, especially a 
Baptist or a Methodist. His choicest oaths he reserved 
for them. He made a study of their weaknesses, and 
could tell dozens of stories to their discredit, many of 
them true. He had an instinct for finding their weak 
spots and holding them, up to ridicule. He bought 
every book of militant infidelity he could find and 
memorised the bitterest of it. He took special pride 
in scoffing at religion before the young converts of 
Durham's church. 

He was endowed with a personal magnetism that 
fascinated the young as the hiss of a snake holds a bird. 

His serious work was politics and sensualism. In 
politics he was at his best. Here he was cunning, 
plausible, careful, brilliant and daring. He never 
lost his head in defeat or victory. He never forgot a 
friend nor forgave an enemy. Of his foe he asked no 
quarter and gave none. 

His ambitions were purely selfish. He meant to 

258 



The Heart of a Villain 259 

climb to the top. As to the means, the end would 
justify them. He preferred to associate with white 
people, but when it was necessary to win a Negro he 
never hesitated to go any length. The center of the 
universe to his mind was A. McLeod. 

He was fond of saying to a crowd of youngsters whom 
he taught to play poker and drink whisky: 

" Boys, I know the world. The great man is the man 
who gets there." 

He was generous with his money, and the boys called 
him a jolly good fellow. He used to say in explanation 
of this careless habit: 

"It won't do for an ordinary fool to throw away 
money as I do. I play for big stakes. I'm not a spend- 
thrift. I'm simply sowing seed. I can wait for the 
harvest." 

And when they would admire this overmuch he 
would warn them: 

"As a rule, my advice is, Get money. Get it fairly 
and squarely if you can, but whatever you do — get it. 
When you come right down to it, money's your first, 
last, best and only friend. Others promise well, but 
when the scratch comes they fail. Money never fails." 

A boy of fifteen asked him one day when he was 
mellow with liquor: 

"McLeod, which would you rather be, President of 
the United States or a big millionaire?" 

"Boys," he replied, smacking his lips and running 
his tongue around his cheeks inside and softly caressing 
them with one hand, while he half closed his eyes, 
"they say old Simon Legree is worth fifty millions of 
dollars and that his actual income is twenty per cent, on 
that. They say he stole most of it, and that every dollar 
represents a broken life, and every cent of it could be 
painted red with the blood of his victims. Even so, I 



260 The Leopard's Spots 

would rather be in Legree's shoes and have those millions 
a year than to be Almighty God with hosts of angels 
singing psalms to me through all eternity." 

And the shallow-pated satellites cheered this blas- 
phemy with open-eyed wonder. 

The weakest side of his nature was that turned toward 
women. He was vain as a peacock, and the darling 
wish of his soul was to be a successful libertine. This 
was the secret of the cruelty back of his desire of 
boundless wealth. 

He had the intellectual forehead of his Scotch father, 
large, handsomely modelled features, nostrils that 
dilated and contracted widely, and the thick sensous 
lips of his mother. His eyebrows were straight, thick, 
and suggested undoubted force of intellect. His hair 
was a deep red, thick and coarse, but his mustache was 
finer, and it was his special pride to point its delicately 
curved tips. 

His vanity was being stimulated just now by two 
opposite forces. He was in lcve, as deeply as such a 
nature could love, with Sallie Worth. Her continued 
rejection of his suit had wounded his vanity, but had 
roused all the pugnacity of his nature to strengthen 
this apparent weakness. 

iHe had discovered recently that he exercised a potent 
influence over Mrs. Durham. The moment he was 
repulsed his vanity turned for renewed strength toward 
her. He saw instantly the immense power even the 
slighest indiscretion on her part would give him over the 
Preacher's life. He knew that while he was not 
a demonstrative man, he loved his wife with intense 
devotion. He knew, too, that here was the Preacher's 
weakest spot. In his tireless devotion to his work he 
had starved his wife's heart. He had noticed that she 
always called him "Doctor Durham" now, and that 



The Heart of a Villain 261 

he had gradually fallen into the habit of calling her 
"Mrs. Durham." 

This had been fixed in their habits, perhaps, by the 
change from housekeeping to living at the hotel. Since 
old Aunt Mary's death, Mrs. Durham had given up her 
struggle with the modern Negro servants, closed her 
house, and they had boarded for several years. 

He saw that if he could entangle her name with his 
in the dirty gossip of village society he could strike 
his enemy a mortal blow. He knew that she had grown 
more and more jealous of the crowds of silly women 
that always dog the heels of a powerful minister with 
flattery and open admiration. He determined to make 
the experiment. 

Mrs. Durham, while nine years his senior, did not look 
a day over thirty. Her face was as smooth and soft and 
round as a girl's, her figure as straight and full, and her 
every movement instinct with stored vital powers that 
had never been drawn upon. 

She was in a dangerous period of her mental develop- 
ment. She had been bitterly disappointed in life. Her 
loss of slaves and the ancestral prestige of great wealth 
had sent the steel shaft of a poisoned dagger into her 
soul. She was unreconciled to it. While she was pass- 
ing through the anarchy of Legree's regime which 
followed the war, her unsatisfied maternal instincts 
absorbed her in the work of relieving the poor and the 
broken. But when the white race rose in its might and 
shook off this nightmare and order and a measure of 
prosperity had come, she had fallen back into brooding 
pessimism. 

She had reached the hour of that soul crisis when she 
felt life would almost in a moment slip from her grasp, 
and she asked herself the question, "Have I lived?" 
And she could not answer. 



262 The Leopard's Spots 

She found herself asking the reasons for things long 
accepted as fixed and eternal. What was good, right, 
truth? And what made it good, right, or true? 

And she beat the wings of her proud woman's heart 
against the bars that held her, until tired and bleeding, 
she was exhausted but unconquered. 

She was furious with McLeod for his open association 
with Negro politicians. 

"Allan, in my soul, I am ashamed for you when I see 
you thus degrade your manhood." 

"Nonsense, Mrs. Durham," he replied; "the most beau- 
tiful flower grows in dirt, but the flower is not dirt." 

"Well, I knew you were vain, but that caps the 
climax! " 

" Isn't my figure true, whether you say I'm dog-fennel 
or a - pink? " 

"No; you are not a flower. Will is the soul of man. 
The flower is ruled by laws outside itself. A man's will 
is creative. You can make law. You can walk with 
your head among the stars, and you choose to crawl in 
a ditch. I am out of patience with you." 

" But only for a purpose. You must judge by tke end 
in view." 

"There's no need to stoop so low." 

1 ' I assure you it is absolutely necessary to my aims 
in life. And they are high enough. I appreciate your 
interest in me more than I dare to tell you. You have 
always been kind to me since I was a wild red- 
headed brute of a boy. And you have always been my 
supreme inspiration in work. While others have 
cursed and scoffed, you smiled at me, and your smile 
has warmed my heart in its blackest nights." 

She looked at him with a motherlike tenderness. 

"What ends could be high enough to justify sucb 
methods? " 



The Heart of a Villain 263 

11 1 hate poverty and squalor. It's been my fate. I've 
sworn to climb out of it, if I have to fight or buy my 
way through hell to do it. I dream of a palatial home, 
of soft white beds, grand banquet halls, and music and 
wine, and the faces of those I love near me. Besides, 
the work I am doing is the best for the state and 
the nation." 

"But how can you walk arm in arm with a big black 
Negro, as they say you do, to get his vote? " 

''Simply because they represent 120,000 votes I need. 
You can't tell their colour when they get into the box. 
I use these fools as so many worms. My political 
creed is for public consumption only. I never allow 
anybody to impose on me. I don't allow even Allan 
McLeod to deceive me with a paper platform or a lot of 
articulated wind. I'm not a preacher." 

She winced, blushed and looked at him curiously for a 
moment. 

"No, you are not a preacher. I wish you were a 
better man." 

"So do I, when I am with you," he answered in a low, 
serious voice. 

"But I can't get over the sense of personal degrada- 
tion involved in your association with Negroes as your 
equal," she persisted. 

"The trouble is you're an unreconstructed rebel. 
Women never really forgive a social wrong." 

"I am unreconstructed ! " she snapped, with pride. 

"And you thank God daily for it, don't you? " 

"Yes, I do. Human nature can't be reconstructed 
by the fiat of fools who tinker with laws," she cried. 

"These thousands of black votes are here. They've 
got to be controlled. I'm doing the job." 

"You don't try to get rid of them." 

"Get rid of them? Ye gods, that would be a task! 



264 The Leopard's Spots 

The Negro is the sentimental pet of the nation. Put 
him on a continent alone and he will sink like an iron 
wedge to the bottomless pit of barbarism. But he is the 
ward of the Republic — our only orphan, chronic, in- 
capable. That wardship is a grip of steel on the throat 
of the South. Back of it is an ocean of maudlin senti- 
mental fools. I am simply making the most of the 
situation. I didn't make it to order. I'm just doing 
the best I can with the material in hand." 

"Why don't you come out like a man and defy this 
horde of fools?" 

"Martyrdom has become too cheap. The preachers 
have a hundred thousand missionaries now we are 
trying to support." 

"Allan, I thought you held below the rough surface 
of your nature high ideals — you don't mean this." 

"What could one man do against these millions?" 

"Do!" she cried, her face ablaze. "The history of 
the world is made up of the individuality of a few men. 
A little Yankee woman wrote a book. The single act of 
that woman's will caused the war, killed a million men, 
desolated and ruined the South, and changed the 
history of the world. The single dauntless personality 
of Washington three times saved the colonies from sur- 
render and created the Republic. I am surprised to 
hear a man of your brain and reading talk like that ! " 

"When I am with you and hear your voice I have 
heroic impulses. You are the only human being with 
whom I would take the time to discuss this question. 
But the current is too strong. The other way is easier, 
and it serves my ends better. Besides, 1 am not sure 
it isn't better from every point of view. We've got the 
Negro here, and must educate him." 

"Hush! Tell that to somebody that hates you, not 
to me !" she cried. 



The Heart of a Villain 265 

4t Don't you think we must educate them ? " 

"No; I think it is a crime." 

"Would you leave them in ignorance, a threat to 
society? " 

"Yes, until they can be moved. When I see these 
young Negro men and women coming out of their schools 
and colleges, well dressed, with their shallow veneer of 
an imitation culture, I feel like crying over the farce." 

"Surely, Mrs. Durham, you believe they are better 
fitted for life?" 

1 ' They are not. They are lifted out of their only possi- 
ble sphere of their menial service, and denied any career. 
It is simply inhuman. They are led to certain slaughter 
of soul and body at last. It is a horrible tragedy." 

Allan looked at her, smiled, and replied: "I knew you 
were a bitter and brilliant woman but I didn't think you 
would go to such lengths even with your pet aversions." 

"It's not an aversion, or a prejudice, sir. It's a simple 
fact of history. Education increases the power of the 
human brain to think and the heart to suffer. Sooner or 
later these educated Negroes feel the clutch of the iron 
hand of the white man's unwritten laws on their throats. 
They have their choice between a suicide's grave or 
a prison cell. And the numbers who dare the grave 
and the prison cell daily increase. The South is 
kinder to the Negro when he is kept in his place." 

"You are a quarter of a century behind the times." 

"Am I so old?" she laughed. 

"The sentiment, not the woman. You are the most 
beautiful woman I ever saw." 

" I like rny boys to feel that way about me." 

"You don't class me quite with the rest, do you?" 

She blushed the slightest bit. "No ; I've always taken 
a peculiar interest in you. I have quarrelled with every- 
body who has hated and spoken evil of you. I have 



266 The Leopard's Spots 

always believed you were capable of a high and noble 
life of great achievement." 

"And your faith in me has been my highest incentive 
to give the lie to my enemies and succeed. And I will. 
I will be the master of this state within two years. And 
I want you to remember that I lay it all at your feet, 
The world need not know it — you know it." He spoke 
with intense earnestness. 

"But I don't want you to make such a success at the 
price of Negro equality. I feel a sense of unspeakable 
degradation for you when I hear your name hissed. At 
least I was your teacher once. Come, Allan, give up 
Negro politics and devote yourself to an honourable 
career in law." 

He shook his head with calm persistence., 

"No, this is my calling." 

"*Then take a nobler one." 

u To succeed grandly is the only title to nobility here." 

"Is the Doctor on speaking terms with you now?" 

"Yes. I joke him about his hide-bound Bourbonism, 
and he tells me I am all sorts of a villain. But we 
have made an agreement to hate one another in a 
polite sort of way as becomes a teacher in Israel and a 
statesman with responsibilities. By the way, I saw 
him driving to the Springs with a bevy of pretty girls 
a few hours ago." 

"Indeed? I didn't know it 1" 

"Yes. He seemed to be having a royal time and to 
have renewed his youth." 

An angry flush came to her face and she made no 
reply McLeod glanced at her furtively and smiled 
at this evidence that this shot had gone home. 

"Would you drive with me to the Springs? We will 
<HBt there before this party starts back." She hesitated. 
*nd answered "Yes." 



CHAPTER XI 
THE OLD, OLD STORY 

WHEN Gaston arrived in Independence he went 
direct to St. Clare's. 
"Well, where the Dickens have you been, 
Gaston ? " 

"Jumping from Murphy to Manteo, making love to 
hayseed statesmen." 

"What luck?" 

"They're all crazy. They swear they are going to 
have the United States establish a Sub-Treasury in 
Raleigh and issue Government script they can use as 
money on their pumpkins, or they are going to tear the 
nation to tatters and vote for a nigger for Governor 
if necessary." 

"Can't you get into their fool heads that an alliance 
with the Republican party is the last way on earth for 
them to go about their Sub-Treasury schemes?" 

"Can't seem to do a thing with them. McLeod's 
stuffed them full. I'm sick of it. I've a notion to let 
them go with the niggers and go to the devil. It's 
growing on me that there must be another way out. 
I can't get down in the dirt and prostitute my intellect 
and lie to these fools. We've got to get rid of the 
Negro." 

"A large job, old man." 

"Yes, it is, and thank God I'm done with it for a 
week. I'm going to heaven now for a few days. I'll 
see her in an hour. I rise on tireless wings ! " 

267 



268 The Leopard's Spots 

"Look out you don't come down too suddenly. The 
earth may feel hard." 

"Bob, I'm going to risk it. I'm going to look fate 
squarely in the face and get my answer like a little 
man, for life or death." 

Mrs. Worth met Gaston and greeted him with thq 
warmest cordiality. 

"We are charmed to welcome you to Oakwood agaiit 
Mr. Gaston." 

"I assure you, Mrs. Worth, I never saw a home se 
beautiful. I feel as though I am in paradise when I 
get here." 

"I hope to see more of you this time; I feel that I 
know you so much better since our talk at the Springs." 

"Thank you, Mrs. Worth." He said this so simply 
and earnestly she could but feel his deep appreciation 
of her attitude of welcome. 

"Sallie will be down in a minute." 

Gaston smiled in spite of himself. 

"What are you laughing at?" 

"I was just thinking how sweetly her name sounded 
on your lips." 

"Do you like these old-fashioned Southern names?" 

"I think they are lovely." 

"Well, that's my name, too." 

Sallie suddenly stepped from the hall into the 
doorway. 

"Now, Mamma, there you are again carrying on 
with one of my beaux ! I don't know what I will do 
with you!" 

Mrs. Worth actually blushed, sprang up and struck 
Sallie lightly on the arm with her fan, exclaiming: 
"You sly thing, to stand out there and listen to what I 
said ! Mr. Gaston, I turn her over to you to punish 
her for such conduct." 



The Old, Old Story 269 

"Isn't she a dear?" said Sallie, when her mother 
was gone. 

"I was charmed with her at the Springs, but the 
gracious way she made me feel at home this morning 
completely won my heart." 

"I can do anything with Mamma. She's the dearest 
mother that ever lived. She always seems to know 
intuitively my heart's wish, and, if it's best, give it to 
me; and if it's not, she makes me cease to desire it. I 
wish I could manage Papa as easily." 

"I'm sure he idolises you, Miss Sallie." 

"He does; but when he lays the law down, that 
settles it. I can't move him one inch." 

"That's the way with forceful men, who do things 
in the world." 

"Well, I confess I like to have my own way some- 
times. I wonder if you are like that?" 

"I'll be frank with you. Somehow I never could be 
anything else if I tried. I don't think a man of strong 
character will yield to every whim of a woman, whether 
wife or daughter." 

"I heard of a man the other day who whipped his 
wife," she said in a far-away tone of voice. "Come, my 
horse is ready; go with me for another ride to-day. I 
am going to take you across the river and show you a 
pretty drive over there." 

They were soon lost in the deep shadows of the 
stately pine forest that lay beyond the Catawba. The 
road was a cross-country, narrow way that wound in 
and out around the big trees. 

They jogged slowly along while he bathed his soul in 
the joy of her presence. Oh, to be alone and near her ! 
There seemed to him a magic power in the touch of her 
dress as she sat in the little buggy so close by his 
side. For hours again he lay at her feet and drank 



270 The Leopard's Spots 

the wine of her beauty until his heart was drunk 
with love. 

Once he opened his lips to tell her, and a great fear 
awed him into silence. He longed to pour out to her his 
passion, but feared her answer. He had studied her 
every word and tone and look and hand-pressure since 
he had known her. He was si 1 re she loved him. And 
yet he was not sure. She was so skilled in the science 
of self-defense, so subtle a mistress of all the arts of 
polite society in which the soul's deepest secrets are hid 
from the world, he was paralysed now as the moment 
drew near. He put it off another day and gave himself 
up to the pure delight of her face and form and voice 
and presence. 

That evening when she entered the home her mother 
caught her hand and softly whispered, "Did he court 
you to-day, Sallie?" 

She shook her head smilingly. "No, but I think he 
will to-morrow." 

St. Clare was sitting on his veranda awaiting 
Gaston's return. 

"What luck, old boy?" he eagerly asked. 

"Couldn't say a word. I'll do it to-morrow or die." 

"Shake hands, partner. I've been there." 

"Bob, it's a serious thing to run up against a little 
answer 'yes' or 'no,' that means life or death." 

"Feel like you'd rather live on hope awhile, and let 
things drift, don't you?" 

" Exactly. I think I can understand for the first time 
in my life that awful look in a prisoner's face on trial 
for his life when he watches the lips of the foreman of 
the jury to catch the first letter of the verdict. I used 
to think that an interesting psychological study. By 
George, I feel I am his brother now." 

The next day was perfect. The warm life-giving sun 



The Old, Old Story 271 

of June was tempered by breezes that swept fresh and 
invigorating over the earth that had been drenched 
with showers in the night. The woods were ringing 
with the chorus of feathered throats chanting the old 
oratorio of life and love. Again Gaston and Sallie 
were jogging along the shady river road they had 
travelled on the first day she had taken him driving. 

"Do you remember this road?" she asked. 

"I'll never forget it. Along this road we hurried 
in the twilight to face your angry mother, and just 
one kiss smoothed her brow into a welcoming smile 
for me." 

"Well, I'm going to risk greater trouble to-day, and 
take you a mile or two farther up the river to the old 
mill-site at the rapids. It's the most beautiful and 
romantic spot in the country. The river spreads out a 
quarter of a mile in width, and goes plunging and 
dashing down the rapids through thousands of pro* 
jecting rocks, a mass of white foam as far as you can see. 
It's full of tiny green islands with ferns and rhododendron 
and wild grapevines, and their perfume sweetens the 
air for miles along the water. These little islands, 
some ten feet square, some an acre, are full of mocking- 
birds nesting there, though since the mills were burned 
during the war nobody has lived near. The songs of 
these birds seem tuned to the music of the river." 

"It must be a glimpse of fairyland!" he exclaimed. 

1 ' I know you will be thrilled with its romantic beauty. 
It's five miles from a house in any direction." 

Gaston was silent. He made a resolution in his 
soul that he would never leave that spot until he knew 
his fate. His heart began to thump now like a sledge- 
hammer. He looked down furtively at her and tried 
to imagine how she would look and what she would 
say when he should startle her first with some words of 



272 The Leopard's Spots 

tender endearment or the sound of her name he had 
said over and over a thousand times in his heart, and 
aloud when alone, but never dared to use without 
its prefix. 

She saw his abstraction and divined intuitively the 
current of emotions with which he was struggling, but 
pretended not to notice it. He tied the horse at the 
old mill, and they walked slowly down the bank of 
the river. 

"That is my island," she cried, pointing out into the 
river; "that third one in the group running out from 
the point. We can step from one rock to another to it." 

It was indeed an entrancing spot. The island seemed 
all alone in the middle of the river when one was on it. 
It was not more than fifty feet wide and a hundred feet 
long, its length lying with the swift current. At the 
lower end of it a fine ash tree spread its dense shade, 
hanging far over the still waters that stood in smooth 
eddy at its roots. On the upper side of this tree lay 
a big boulder, resting against its trunk and embedded 
in a mass of clean white sand the water had filtered and 
washed and thrown there on some spring flood. 

She climbed on this rock, sat down, and leaned her 
bare head against its trunk. 

"This is my throne! " she laughingly cried. 

He leaned against the rock and looked up at her with 
eyes through which the yearning, the hunger, the joy, 
and the fear of all life were quivering. What a picture 
she made under the dark, cool shadows ! Her dress was 
again of spotless white that seemed now to have been 
woven out of the foam of the river. Her throat was 
bare, her cheeks flushed, and her wavy hair the wind 
had blown loose into a hundred stray ringlets about her 
face and neck. Her lips were trembling with a smile at 
his speechless admiration. 



The Old, Old Story 273 

"You seem to have been struck dumb," she said. 
"Isn't this glorious?" 

"Beyond words, Miss Sallie. I didn't know there was 
such a spot on the earth." 

"This is my favourite perch. Art and wealth could 
never make anything like this ! I could come here and 
sit and dream all day alone if Mamma would let me." 

He tried to begin the story of love, but every time 
his tongue refused to move. He was trembling with 
nervous hesitation and began to dig a hole in the sand 
with his heel. 

' ' What is the matter with you to-day ? I never saw 
you so serious and moody." 

Just then a female mocking-bird in her modest dove- 
coloured dress lit on a swaying limb whose tips touched 
the still water of the eddy at their feet, and her proud 
mate, with head erect, far up on the topmost twig of the 
ash, struck softly the first note of his immortal love 
poem, the dropping song. 

"Listen! He's going to sing his dropping song!" he 
cried in a whisper. 

And they listened. He sang his first stanza in a low, 
dreamy voice, and then as the sweetness of his love 
and the glory of his triumph grew on his bird soul he 
lifted his clear notes higher and higher until the woods 
on the banks of the river rang with its melody. 

His mate turned her eyes upward and quietly twittered 
a sweet little answer. 

His response rang like a silver trumpet far up in the 
sky. He sprang ten feet into the air and slowly dropped, 
singing, singing his long trilling notes of melting 
sweetness. He stopped on the topmost twig, sat a 
moment, never ceasing his matchless song, and then 
began to fall downward from limb to limb toward his 
mate, pouring out his soul in mad abandonment of joy, 



274 Tk e Leopard's Spots 

but growing softer, sweeter, more tender as he drew 
nearer. They could see her tremble now with pride 
and love at his approach, as she glanced timidly upward 
and answered him with maiden modesty. At last, 
when he reached her side, his song was so low and sweet 
and dreamlike it could scarcely be heard. He touched 
the tip of her beak with a bird kiss, they chirped, and 
flew away to the woods together. 

Gaston determined to speak or die. His eyes were 
wet with unshed tears, and he was trembling from head 
to foot. He had meant to pour out his love for her like 
that bird in words of passionate beauty, but all he could 
do was to say with stammering voice, low and tense 
with emotion, 

"Miss Sallie, I love you!" 

He had meant to say "Sallie," but at the last gasp of 
breath, as he spoke, his courage had failed. He did not 
look up at first. And when she was silent, he timidly 
looked up, fearing to hear the answer or read it in her 
face. She smiled at him and broke into a low peal of 
joyous laughter. And there was a note of joy in her 
laughter that was contagious. 

"Please don't laugh at me," he stammered, although 
smiling himself. 

She buried her face in her hands and laughed again. 
She looked at him with her great blue eyes, wide open, 
dancing with fun and wet with tears. 

"Do you know, it's the funniest thing in the world; 
you are the sixth man who has made love to me on 
this rock within a year!" Again she laughed in his 
face. 

"Look here, Miss Sallie, this is cruel! " 

"Dear old rock! It's enchanted. It never fails ! " 
She laughed softly again, and patted the rock with her 
hand. 



The Old, Old Story 275 

"Surely you have tortured me long enough. Have 
some pity ! " 

"It is a pitiable sight to see a big, eloquent man 
stammer and do silly things, isn't it?" 

"Please give me your answer," he cried, still trembling. 

"Oh, it's not so serious as all that!" she said, with 
dancing eyes. 

"I'm in the dust at your feet." 

"You mean in the sand. Did you know that you dug 
a hole in that sand deep enough to bury me in? I 
thought once you were meditating murder by the 
expression on your face." 

"Please give me one earnest look from your eyes," 
he pleaded. 

"You're a terrible disappointment," she answered, 
leaning back and putting her hands behind her head 
thoughtfully. 

His heart stood still at this unexpected speech. 

"How?" he slowly asked, looking down at the sand 
again. 

"Because," she said, in her old tantalising tone, "I 
expected so much of you." 

"Then you don't class me with the other poor devils, 
at least?" he asked, hopefully. 

"No, no; they were handsome boys and made me 
beautiful speeches. But you are distinguished. You 
are a man that everybody would look at twice in a crowd. 
You are a famous young orator who can hold thousands 
breathless with eloquence. I thought you would make 
me the most beautiful speech. But you acted like a 
schoolboy, stammered, looked foolish, and pawed a hole 
in the ground !" Again she laughed. 

"I confess, Miss Sallie, I was never so overwhelmed 
with terror and nervousness by an audience before." 

"And just one girl to hear?" 



276 The Leopard's Spots 

"Yes, but she counts more with me than all the other 
millions, and one kind look from her eyes I would hold 
dearer at this moment than a conquered world's 
applause." 

" That's fine ! That's something like it ! Say more ! " 
she cried. 

His face clouded and he looked earnestly at her. 

"Come, come, Miss Sallie, this is too cruel. I have 
torn my heart's deepest secrets open to you, and trem- 
blingly laid my life at your feet, and you are laughing at 
me. I have paid you the highest homage one human 
soul can offer another. Surely I deserve better than 
this?" 

"There, you do. Forgive me. I have seen so much 
shallow love-making I am never quite sure a boy's in 
dead earnest." She spoke now with seriousness. 

"You cannot doubt my earnestness. I have spoken 
to you this morning the first words of love that ever 
passed my lips. One chamber of my soul has always 
been sacred. It was the throne-room of Love, reserved 
for the One Woman waiting for me somewhere whom 
I should find. I would not allow an angel to enter it, 
and I hid it from the face of God. I have opened it this 
morning. It is yours." 

She softly slipped her hand in his and tremblingly 
said, while a tear stole down her cheek: 

"I do love you!" 

He bent over her hand and kissed it, and kissed it, 
while his frame shook with uncontrollable emotion. 
Then, looking up through his dimmed eyes, he said, 
"My darling, that was the sweetest music, that 
sentence, that I shall ever hear in this world or in all 
the worlds beyond it in eternity." 

"When did you first begin to love me?" she asked. 

"I don't know. But I loved you the first moment 



The Old, Old Story 277 

you looked into my face while I was speaking that day. 
And I recognised you instantly as the Dream of my 
Soul. I have loved you forever, ages before we were 
born in this world — somewhere — our souls met and knew 
and loved. And I've been looking for you ever since. 
When I saw you there in the crowd that day, looking up 
at me with those beautiful blue eyes, I felt like shouting 
1 1 have found her ! I have found her ! ' and rushing 
to your side lest I should not see you again." 

"It is strange — this feeling that we have known each 
other forever. The moment you touched my hand that 
first day a sense of perfect content and joy in living 
came over me. I couldn't remember the time when 
I hadn't known you. You seemed so much a part of 
my inmost thoughts and e very-day life. I laughed 
this morning from sheer madness of joy when you told 
me your love. I knew you were going to tell me 
t«-day. You tried yesterday, but I held you back. I 
wanted you to tell me here at this beautiful spot, that 
the music of this water might always sing its chorus 
with the memory of your words." 

"Let me kiss your lips once !" he pleaded. 

"No; you shall hold my hand and kiss that. Your 
touch thrills every nerve of my being like wine. It is 
enough. I promised Mamma I would never allow a man 
to kiss me without asking her. And we are like loving 
comrades. I couldn't violate a promise to her. I will, 
when she says so." 

'Then I'll ask her. I know she's on my side." 

"Yes; I believe she loves you because I do." 

"What did you whisper to her that night, when we 
came late, and you said she would be angry?" 

"Told her I loved you." 

" If I could only have caught that whisper then ! You 
don't know how it delights me to think your mother 



278 The Leopard's Spots 

likes me. I couldn't help loving her. It seems to me 
a divine seal on our lives." 

"Yes; and what specially delights me is, you have 
completely captured Papa, and he's so hard to please." 

"You don't say so!" 

"Yes, he's been preaching you at me ever since you 
came the first time. I pretended to be indifferent, to 
draw him out. He would say, ' Now, Sallie, there's a 
man for you — no pretty dude, but a man, with a kingly 
eye and a big brain. That's the kind of a man who does 
things in the world and makes history for smaller men 
to read.' And then I'd say, just to aggravate him, 
'But, Papa, he's as poor as Job's turkey.'" 

"Then you ought to have heard him, 'Well, what of 
it ! You can begin in a cabin like your mother and I 
did. He's got a better start than I had, for he has a 
better training.'" 

"I am certainly glad to hear that ! " Gaston cried with 
elation. 

"You may be. For Papa is a man of such intense 
likes and dislikes. The first thing that made my heart 
flutter with fear was that he might not like you. He 
loves me intensely, and I love him devotedly. I 
could not marry without his consent. You are so 
entirely different from any other beau I ever had, I 
couldn't imagine what Papa would think of you. You 
wear such a serious face, never go into society, care 
nothing for fine clothes, and are so careless that you 
even hung your feet out of the buggy that first day I 
took you to drive. I was glad to have you in the woods 
and not in town. The boys would have guyed me to 
death. In fact, you are the contradiction of the average 
man I have known, and of all the men I thought as a 
girl I'd marry some day. I am so glad Papa likes you." 

That evening, when they reached the house, she 



The Old, Old Story 279 

hurried through the hall to her mother, who was 
standing on the back porch. There was the sudden 
swish of a dress, a kiss, another — and another. And 
then the low murmur of a mother's voice like the 
crooning over a baby. 



CHAPTER XII 
THE MUSIC OF THE MILLS 

WHEN Gaston reached his home that night St. 
Clare had gone to bed. It was one o'clock. 
He could not sleep yet, so he sat in the 
window and tried to realise his great happiness, as he 
looked out on the green lawn with its white gravelled 
walk glistening in the full moon. 

"The world is beautiful, life is sweet, and God is 
good!" he cried, in an ecstasy of joy. 

He sat there in the moonlight for an hour dreaming 
of his love and the great strenuous life of achievement 
he would live with her to inspire him. It seemed too 
good to be true. And yet it was the largest living fact. 
Like throbbing music the words were ringing in his 
heart, keeping time with the rhythm of its beat, "I 
do love you!" 

And then he did something he had not done for 
years — not sin<^ his boyhood: he knelt in the silence 
of the moonlit iOom and prayed. Love, the great 
Revealer, had led hi~n into the presence of God. The 
impulse was spontaneous and resistless. "Lord, I 
have seen Thy face, heara Thy voice, and felt the touch 
of Thy hand to-day. I bless and praise Thee ! Forgive 
my doubts and fears and sins; cleanse and make me 
worthy of her whom Thou has sent as Thy messenger !" 
So he poured out his soul. 

Next morning he grasped St. Clare's hand as he 

280 



The Music of the Mills 281 

entered the room. "Bob, I'm the happiest man in 
the world." 

"Congratulations. You look it." 

"She loves me. I'd like to climb up on the top of 
this house and shout it until all earth and heaven 
could hear and be glad with me !" 

"Well, don't do it, my boy. See her father first." 

"She says he likes me." 

"Then you're elected." 

"I'm going to tackle him before I go home." 

"Don't rush him. There's a superstition prevalent 
here that the old gentleman has no idea of ever letting 
his daughter leave that home, and that he will never 
give his consent, when driven to the wall, unless his 
son-in-law that is to be will agree to settle down there 
and take his place in those big mills. He has two great 
loves, his daughter and his mills, and he doesn't mean 
to let either one of them go if he can help it." 

"Do you believe it's true?" 

"Yes, I do. How do you like the idea?" 

"It's not my style. I've a pretty clear idea of what 
I'm going to do in this world." 

"Well, you'd better begin to haul in your silk sails 
and study cotton goods, is my advice." 

"I'll manage him." 

"I don't know about it; but if you've got her, you're 
the first man that ever got far enough to measure 
himself with the General. I wish you luck." 

"You the same, old chum. May you conquei 
Boston and all the Pilgrim Fathers." 

"Thanks. The vision of one of them disturbs my 
dreams. One will be enough." 

Then followed six golden days on the banks of the 
Catawba. Every day he insisted with boyish enthusi- 
asm on returning to that rock and seating her on her 



282 The Leopard's Spots 

throne. He called her his queen, and worshipped at 
her feet. 

He had the friendliest little chat with her mother, 
and told her how he loved her daughter and hoped for 
her approval. She answered with frankness that she 
was glad, and would love him as her own son, but that 
she disapproved of kissing and extravagant love- 
making until they were ready to be married and their 
engagement duly announced. 

So he could only hold Sallie's hand and kiss the tips 
of her fingers and the little dimples where they joined 
the hand, and sometimes he would hold it against his 
own cheek while she smiled at him. 

But when they rode homeward one evening he dared 
to put his arm behind her, high on the phaeton's leather 
cushion, as they were going down a hill, and then 
lowered it a little as they started up the grade. She 
leaned back and found it there. At first she nestled 
against it very timidly and then trustingly. She 
looked into his face and both smiled. 

"Isn't that nice, Sallie?" 

"Yes, it is. I don't think Mamma would mind that, 
do you?" 

"Of course not." 

"Well, I never promised not to lean back in a phaeton, 
did I?" 

"Certainly not, and it's all right." 

Toward the end of the week the General began to 
show him a grave, friendly interest. He invited Gaston 
to go over the mills with him. The mills were located 
back of the wooded cliffs a quarter of a mile up the 
river. There were now four magnificent brick build- 
ings stretching out over the river bottoms at right 
angles to its current, and there was also a big dye- 
house, a ginning-house and a cottonseed oil mill. The 



The Music of the Mills 283 

General stood on the hilltop and proudly pointed it 
out to him. 

"Isn't that a grand sight, young man! We employ 
2,000 hands down there, and consume hundreds of bales 
of cotton a day. We began here after the war without 
a cent, except our faith and this magnificent water- 
power. Now look!" 

"You have certainly done a great work," said Gaston. 
"I had no idea you had so many industries in the 
enclosure." 

1 ' Yes ; I sit down here on the hill some nights in the 
moonlight and look into this valley, and the hum of that 
machinery is like ravishing music. The machinery 
seems to me to be a living thing, with millions of 
ringers of steel and a great throbbing soul. I dream 
of the day when those swift fingers will weave their 
fabrics of gold and clothe the whole South in splen- 
dour — the South I love, and for which I fought and 
have yearned over through all these years. Ah, 
young man, I wish you boys of brain and genius 
would quit throwing yourselves away in law and 
dirty politics and devote your powers to the South's 
development." 

"Yes; but General, the people of the South had to 
go into politics instead of business on account of the 
enfranchisement of the Negro. It was a matter of life 
and death." 

"I didn't do it." 

"No, sir, but others did for you." 

"How?" he asked incredulously, with just a touch 
of wounded pride. 

"Well, how many Negroes do you employ in 
these mills?" 

"None. We don't allow a Negro to come inside the 
enclosure." 



284 The Leopard's Spots 

"Precisely so. You have prospered because you 
have got rid of the Negro." 

"I've simply let the Negro alone. Let others do the 
same." 

"But everybody can't do it. There are now 
nine millions of them. You've simply shifted the 
burden on others' shoulders. You haven't solved 
the problem." 

"If we had less politics and more business we would 
be better off." 

"But the trouble is, General, we can't have more 
business until politics have settled some things." 

"You're throwing yourself away in politics, young 
man. There's nothing in it but dirt and disap- 
pointment." 

"To me, sir, politics is a religion." 

"Religion! Politics! I didn't know you could ever 
mix 'em. I thought they were about as far apart as 
heaven is from hell!" exclaimed the General. 

"They ought not to be, sir, whatever the terrible 
facts. I believe that the Government is the organised 
virtue of the community, and that politics is religion in 
action. It may be a poor sort of religion, but it is the 
best we are capable of as members of society." 

"Well, that's a new idea." 

"It's coming to be more and more recognised by 
thoughtful men, General. I believe that the State is 
now the only organ through which the whole people 
can search for righteousness, and that the progress of 
the world depends more than ever on its integrity 
and purity." 

"Well, you've cut out a big job for yourself, if that's 
your ideal. My idea of politics is a pig-pen. The 
way to clean it is to kill the pigs." 

Gaston laughed and shook his head. 



The Music of the Mills 285 

When they returned from the mills, Mrs. Worth drew 
the General into her room. 

"Did he ask you for Sallie?" 

"No; the young galoot never mentioned her name. 
I thought he would. But, somehow, I must have 
scared him." 

"You didn't quarrel over anything?" 

" No ! But I found out he had a mind of his own." 

"So have you, sir." 



CHAPTER XIII 
THE FI RST KISS 

WHY didn't you ask him yesterday?" cried 
Sallie, as she entered the parlour the next 
morning. 

"I was scared out of my wits. We got crossways 
on some questions we were discussing, and he snorted 
at me once, and every time I tried to screw up my courage 
to speak a lump got in my throat and I gave it up. I 
thought I'd wait a day or two until he should be in a 
better humour." 

"He's gone away to-day," she said, with plainly 
evinced disappointment. 

"I'm glad of it; I'll write him a letter." 

"If you had asked him yesterday it would have been 
all right. He told me so when he left this morning 
with a very tender tremour in his voice." 

" But it will be all right, sweetheart, when I write." 

"I wanted my ring," she whispered. 

"You shall have it," he said, as he seized her hand 
and led her to a seat. 

" Have you got it with you? " she asked, with excite- 
ment. "Let me see it, quick!" 

He drew a little box from his pocket, withdrew the 
ring, concealing it in his hand, slipped it on her finger 
and kissed it. She threw her hand up into the light to 
see it. 

"It is glorious! It's the big, green diamond Hid- 
denite I saw at the Exposition ! It is the most beautiful 

286 



The First Kiss 287 

stone I ever saw, and the only one of its kind in size and 
colour in the world. Professor Hidden told me so. I 
tried to get Papa to buy it for me. But he laughed at 
me, and said it was childish extravagance. Charlie, 
dear, how could you get it ? " 

"That's a little secret. But there are to be no secrets 
between us any more. I had a little hoard saved from 
my mother's estate for the greatest need of my life. I 
confess my extravagance." 

"You are a matchless lover. I'm the proudest and 
happiest girl that breathes." 

"Nothing is too good for you. I wish I could make a 
greater sacrifice." 

"Wait till I show it to Mamma," and she flew to her 
mother's room. She returned immediately, looking at 
the ring and kissing it. 

"Couldn't show it to her; she had company," she said. 
"Allan is talking to her." 

"Let's get out of the house, dear. I hate that man 
like a rattlesnake." 

"Don't be silly ! I never cared a snap for him." 

"I know you didn't, but there is a poison about him 
that taints the air for me. Get your horse and let's go 
to our place at the old mill." 

They soon reached the spot, and with a laugh she 
sprang upon the rock and took her seat against the 
tree. 

" Now, dear, humour this whim of mine. I've grown 
superstitious since you made me happy. I have a 
presentiment of evil because that man was in the house. 
I am going to take the ring off and put it on your hand 
again out here, where only the eyes of our birds will see 
and the river we love will hear." 

1 ' That will be nicer. I somehow feel that my life is 
built on this dear old rock," she answered, soberly. 



288 The Leopard's Spots 

He took the ring off her finger, dipped it in the white 
foam of the river, kissed it, and placed it on her hand. 

"Now the spell is broken, isn't it?" she cried, holding 
it out in the sunlight a moment to catch the flash of its 
green diamond depth. 

"I've another token for you. This you will not even 
show to your mother or father." She bent low over a 
tiny package he unfolded. 

"This is the first medal I won at college," he con- 
tinued — "the first victory of my life. It was the force 
that determined my character. It gave me an inflexible 
will. I worked at a tremendous disadvantage. Others 
were two years ahead of me in study for the contest. I 
locked myself up in my room day and night for ten 
months, and took just enough food and sleep for strength 
to work. I worked seventeen hours a day, except 
Sundays, for ten months, without an hour of play. I won 
it brilliantly. Every line cut on its gold surface stands 
for a thousand aches of my body. Every little pearl set 
in it grew in a pain of that struggle which set its seal 
on my inmost life. I came out of those ten months a 
man. I have never known the whims of a boy since." 

"And you engraved something on the back to me ?" 

"Yes. Can't you read it?" 

"My eyes are dim," she whispered. 

"It is this — In the hand of manhood's tenderest love 
I bring to thee my boyhood's brightest dream. I was a 
man when I woke, but I have never lived till ycu taught 
me. Keep this as a pledge of eternal love. It's the 
only trinket I ever possessed. The world will see our 
ring. Don't let them see this. It is the seal of your 
sovereignty of my soul in life, in death, and beyond. 
Will you make me this eternal pledge?" 

"Unto the uttermost ! " she murmured. 

"Unto the uttermost ! " he solemnly echoed. 



The First Kiss 289 

"And now, what can I say or do for you when you 
show me in this spirit of prodigal sacrifice how dear I 
am in your eyes? " 

"Those words from your lips are enough," he declared. 

"I'll give you more. I'm going to give you just a 
little bit of myself. I haven't asked Mamma, but we are 
engaged now. Come closer." 

She placed her beautiful arms around his neck 
and pressed her lips upon his in the first rapturous 
kiss of love. 

"No — no more. It is enough, '"she protested. 



CHAPTER XIV 
A MYSTERIOUS LETTER 

HE was at home now, waiting impatiently for the 
General's answer to his letter. Two weeks had 
passed and he had not received it. But she 
liad explained in her letters that her father had returned 
the day he left, had a talk with McLeod, and left on 
important business. They were expecting his return 
at any moment. 

It was a new revelation of life he found in their first 
love letters. He never knew that he could write before. 
He sat for hours at his desk in his law office and poured 
out to her his dreams, hopes and ambitions. All the 
poetry of youth and the passion and beauty of life he 
put into those letters. 

He wrote to her every day and she answered every 
other day. She wrote in half-tearful apology that her 
mother disapproved of a daily letter, and she added, 
wistfully: "I should like to write to you twice a day. 
Take the will for the deed, and as you love me, be sure 
to continue yours daily." 

And on the days the letter came, with eager, trembling 
hands he seized it, without waiting for the rest of his 
mail or his papers. With set face and quick, nervous 
step he would mount the stairs to his office, lock his door 
and sit down to devour it. He would hold it in his hands 
sometimes for ten minutes just to laugh and muse over it, 
and try to guess what new trick of phrase she had used 
to express her love. He was surprised at her brilliance 

290 



A Mysterious Letter 291 

and wit. He had not held her so deep a thinker on the 
serious things of life as these letters had showed, nor 
had he noticed how keen her sense of humour. He 
was so busy looking at her beautiful face, and 
drinking the love-light from her eyes, he had over- 
looked these things when with her. Now they 
flashed on him as a new treasure that would enrich 
his life. 

At the end of two weeks, when the General had not 
answered his letter, he began to grow nervous. A vague 
feeling of fear grew on him. Something had happened 
to darken his future. He felt it by a subtle telepathy of 
sympathetic thought. He was gloomy and depressed 
all day after he had received and feasted on the 
wittiest letter she had ever written. What could it 
mean, he asked himself a thousand times. Some 
shadow had fallen across their lives. He knew it as 
clearly as if the revelation of its misery were already 
unfolded. 

He went to the post-office on the next day he was to 
receive a letter, crushed with a sense of foreboding. He 
waited until the mail was all distributed and the general 
delivery window flung open before he approached his 
box. He was afraid to look at her letter. He slowly 
opened the box. 

There was nothing in it. 

"Sam, you're not holding out my letter to tease me, 
old boy? " he asked, pathetically. 

Sam was about to joke him about the uncertainties of 
love when his eyes rested on his drawn face. 

"Lord, no, Charlie!" he protested. "You know I 
wouldn't treat you like that." 

"Then look again; you may have dropped it." 

Sam turned and looked carefully over the floor, over 
and under his desks and tables, and returned. 



292 The Leopard's Spots 

"No; but it may have been thrown into the wrong 
bag by that fool mail clerk on the train. You may 
get it to-morrow." 

He turned away and walked to his office, forgetting 
his key in the open box. The vague sense of calamity 
that weighed on his heart for the past two days new 
became a reality. 

He sat in his office all the afternoon in a dull stupor 
of suspense. He tried to read her last letter over. But 
the pages would get blurred and fade out of sight, and 
he would wake to find he had been staring at one 
sentence for an hour. 

He knew his foster mother would be all sympathy and 
tenderness if he told her, but somehow he hadn't the 
heart. She had led him to his love. He had been so 
boyishly and frankly happy, boasting to her of his 
success, he sickened at the thought of telling her. He 
went out for a walk in the woods and lay down alone 
beside a brook like a wounded animal. 

The next day he watched his box again with the 
hope that Sam's guess might be right and the missing 
letter would come. But, instead of the big square-cut 
envelope he had waited for, he received a bulky letter 
in an old-fashioned masculine handwriting with the 
postmark of Independence and a mill mark in the upper 
left-hand corner. 

He did not have to look twice at that letter. It was the 
sealed verdict of his jury. He locked his office door. The 
letter was long and rambling, full of a kindly sympathy 
expressed in a restrained manner. He could not believe 
at first that so outspoken a man as the General could 
have written it. The substance of its meaning, however, 
was plain enough. He meant to say that as he was not 
in a position to make a suitable home at present for a 
wife, and as he disapproved of long engagements, it 



A Mysterious Letter 293 

seemed better that no engagement should be entered 
into or announced. 

He stared at this letter for an hour, trying to grasp the 
mystery that lay back of its halting, half-contradictory 
sentences. He did not know until long afterward 
that the General had written it with two blue eyes tear- 
fully watching him and waiting to read it; that now 
and then there was the sound of a great sob, and two 
arms were around his neck, and a still white face lying 
on his shoulder, and that tears had washed all the harsh- 
ness and emphasis out of what he had meant to write, 
and all but blotted out any meaning to what he did 
write. 

But withal it was clear enough in its import. It meant 
that the General had haltingly but authoritatively 
denied his suit. He instantly made up his mind to ask 
an interview at his home and know plainly all his reasons 
for this change of attitude. He wrote his letter and 
posted it immediately by return mail. He knew that 
the request would precipitate a crisis, and he trembled 
at the outcome. Either her father would hesitate and 
receive him, or end it with a crash of his imperious will. 



CHAPTER XV 
A BLOW IN THE DARK 

THE noon mail brought Gaston no answer. At 
night he felt sure it would come. 
When the wagon dashed up to the post-office 
that night it was fifteen minutes late. He was walking 
up and down the street on the opposite pavement along 
the square, keeping under the shadows of the trees. He 
turned, quickly crossed the street, and stood inside the 
office, listening with a feeling of strange abstraction to 
the tramp of the postmaster's feet back and forth as he 
distributed the mail. He never knew before what a 
tragedy might be concealed in the thrust of a bit of folded 
paper into a tiny glass-eyed box. As he waited, fearing 
to face his fate, he remembered the pathetic figure of a 
gray-haired old man who stood there one day hanging 
on that desk softly talking to himself. He was a stranger 
at the Springs, and they were alone in the office together. 
Now and then he brushed a tear from his eyes, glanced 
timidly at the window of the general delivery, starting at 
every quick movement inside as though afraid the win- 
dow had opened. Gaston had gone up close to the old 
man, drawn by the look of anguish in his dignified face. 
The stranger intuitively recognised the sympathy of the 
movement, and explained, tremblingly: "My son, I am 
waiting for a message of life or death" — he faltered, 
seized his hand, and added, "and I'm afraid to see it ! " 

294 



A Blow in the Dark 295 

Just then the window opened and he clutched his arm 
and gasped, with dilated, staring eyes: 

"There, there ; it's come ! You go for me, my son, and 
ask while I pray! I'm afraid." 

How well Gaston remembered now with what trem- 
bling eagerness the old man had broken the seal and 
then stood with head bowed low, crying: 

"I thank and bless thee, oh, Mother of Jesus, for 
this hour! " And looking up into his face with tear- 
streaming eyes he cried in a rich, low voice, like tender 
music, "How beautiful are the feet of them that 
bring glad tidings ! " 

He could feel now the warm pressure of his hand as 
he walked out of the office with him. 

How vividly the whole scene came rushing over him ! 
He thought he sympathised with his old friend that 
night, but now he entered into the fellowship of his 
sorrow. Now he knew. 

At last he drew himself up, walked to his box and 
opened it. His heart leaped. A big, square-cut envelope 
lay in it, addressed to him in her own beautiful hand. 
He snatched it out and hurried to his office. The 
moment he touched it his heart sank. It was light and 
thin. Evidently there was but a single sheet of paper 
within. 

He tore it open and stared at it with parted lips and 
half -seeing eyes. The first word struck his soul with a 
deadly chill. This was what he read: 

"My Dear Mr, Gaston: I write in obedience to the 
wishes of my parents to say our engagement must end 
and our correspondence cease. I cannot explain to you 
the reasons for this. I have acquiesced in their judg- 
ment, that it is best. 

"I return your letters by to-morrow's mail, and 



296 The Leopard's Spots 

Mamma requests that you return mine to her at 
Oakwood immediately. 

"I leave to-night on the Limited for Atlanta, where 
I join a friend. We go to Savannah, and thence by 
steamer to Boston, where I shall visit Helen for a month. 

1 ' Sincerely, 

"Sallie Worth." 

For a long time he looked at the letter in a stupor of 
amazement. That her father could coerce her hand into 
writing such a brutal, commonplace note was a revela- 
tion of his power he had never dreamed. And then his 
anger began to rise. His fighting blood from soldier 
ancestors made his nerves tingle at this challenge. 

He took up the letter and read it again curiously, 
studying each word. He opened the folded sheet, hop- 
ing to find some detached message. There was nothing 
inside. But he noticed on the other side of the sheet, a 
lot of indentures as though made by the end of a 
needle. He turned it back and studied these dots 
under different letters in the words made by the 
needle points. He spelled : 

"My Darling— Unto the Uttermost." 

And then he covered the note with kisses, sprang to 
his feet and looked at his watch. 

It was now ten thirty. The Limited left Independ- 
ence at eleven o'clock and made no stops for the first 
hundred miles toward Atlanta. But just to the south, 
where the railroad skirted the foot of King's Mountain, 
there was a water-tank on the mountainside where he 
knew the train stopped for water about midnight. 

With a fast horse he could make the eighteen miles 
and board the Limited at this water station. The only 
danger was if the sky should cloud over and the star- 
light be lost it would be difficult to keep in the narrow 



A Blow in the Dark 297 

road that wound over the semi -mountainous hills, dense- 
ly wooded, that must be crossed to make it. 

"I'll try it ! " he exclaimed. "Yes, I will do it," he 
added, setting his teeth. "Ill make that train." 

He got the best horse he could find in the livery 
stable, saw that his saddle girths were strong, sprang 
on and galloped toward the south. It was a quarter to 
eleven when he started, and it seemed a doubtful under- 
taking. The Limited would make the run from Inde- 
pendence, fifty-two miles, in an hour at the most. If 
the train were on time it would be a close shave for 
him to make the eighteen miles. 

The sky clouded slightly before he reached the moun- 
tain. In spite of his vigilance he lost his way and had 
gone a quarter of a mile before a rift in the cloud showed 
him the north star suddenly, and he found he had taken 
the wrong road at the crossing and was going straight 
back home. 

Wheeling his horse, he put spurs to him, and dashed 
at full speed back through the dense woods. 

Just as he got within a mile of the tank he heard the 
train blow for the bridge crossing at the river near by. 

"Now, my boy," he cried to his horse, patting him — 
"Now, your level best ! " 

The horse responded with a spurt of desperate speed. 
He had a way of handling a horse that the animal re- 
sponded to with almost human sympathy and intelli- 
gence. He seemed to breathe his own will into the 
horse's spirit. He flew over the ground, and reached 
the train just as the fireman cut off the water and the 
engineer tapped his bell to start. 

He flung his horse's rein over a hitching post that 
stood near the silent little station-house, rushed to the 
track, and sprang on the day coach as it passed. 

He had intended to ride fifty miles on this train, see 



298 The Leopard's Spots 

his sweetheart face to face, learn the truth from her 
own lips, and then return on the up-train. He hoped 
to ride back to Hambright before day and keep the 
fact of his trip a secret. 

Now a new difficulty arose — a very simple one — that 
he had not thought of for a moment. She was in a 
Pullman sleeper, of course, and asleep. 

There were three sleepers, one for Atlanta, one for 
New Orleans, and one for Memphis. He hoped she 
was in the Atlanta sleeper, as that was her destination, 
though if that were crowded in its lower berths she 
might be in either of the others. But how under 
heaven could he locate her? The porter probably 
would not know her. 

He was puzzled. The conductor approached, and he 
paid his fare to the next stop, fifty miles. 

"I've an important message for a passenger in one of 
these sleepers, Captain," he exclaimed. "I have ridden 
across the mountains to catch the train here." 

\TI right," said the conductor. "Go right in and 
deliver it. You look like you had a tussle to get here." 

"It was a close shave," Gaston replied. 

He stepped into the Atlanta sleeper and encountered 
the dusky potentate who presided over its aisles. 

The porter looked up from the shoes he was shining 
at Gaston's dishevelled hair and gave him no welcome. 

Gaston dropped a half-dollar into his hand and the 
porter dropped the shoes and grinned a royal welcome. 

"Anyting I kin do fer ye, boss?" 

"Got any ladies on your car?" 

"Yassir, three un 'em." 

"Young or old?" 

"One young un en two ole uns." 

"Did tne young lady get on at Independence?" 

"Yassir." " 



A Blow in the Dark 299 

"Going to Atlanta?" 

"Yassir." 

"Is she very beautiful?" 

"Boss, she's de purtiess young lady I eber laid my 
eyes on — but look lak she been cryin'." 

"Then I want you to wake her. I must see her." 

"Lordy, boss, I can't do dat. Hit ergin de rules." 

"But I'm bound to see her. I've ridden eighteen 
miles across the mountains and scratched my face all to 
pieces rushing through those woods. I've a message 
of the utmost importance for her." 

"Cain' do hit, boss; hit's ergin de rules. But you 
can go wake her yo'se'f ef you'se er mind ter. I cain* 
keep you fum it. She's dar in number seben." 

Gaston hesitated. "No, you must wake her," he 
insisted, dropping another coin into the porter's hand. 

The porter got up with a grin. He felt he must rise 
to a great occasion. 

"Well, I des fumble roun' de berth en mebbe she wake 
herse'f, en den I tell her." 

Just then the electric bell overhead rang and the 
index pointed to 7. "Dar, now, dat's her callin' me, 
sho' !" 

He approached the berth. "What kin I do fur ye, 
Ma'am?" he whispered. 

"Porter, who is that you are talking to? It sounds 
like some one I know." 

" Yassum; hit's young gent name er Gaston, jump on 
bode at the water station — say he got 'portant message 
fur you." 

"Tell him I will see him in a moment." 

The porter returned with the message. 

"You des wait in dar, in number one — hit's not made 
up — twell she come," he added. 

There was the soft rustle of a dressing-gown — he 



300 The Leopard's Spots 

sprang to his feet, clasped her hand passionately, kissed 
it 9 and silently she took her seat by his side. He still 
held her hand, and she pressed his gently in response. 
He saw that she was crying, and his heart was too full 
for words for a moment. 

He looked long and wistfully in her face. In her 
dishevelled hair by the dim light of the car he thought 
her more beautiful than ever. At last she brushed the 
tears from her eyes and turned her face full on his with 
a sad smile. 

"My love!" she sobbed, "I prayed that I might 
see you somehow before I left. I was wide awake 
when I first heard the distant murmur of your voice. 
I am so glad you came!" And she pressed his hand. 

"I got your letter at ten thirty " 

" Oh, that awful letter ! How I cried over it. Papa 
made me write it, and read and mailed it himself. But 
you caw my message between the lines?" 

"Yes; and then I covered it with kisses. But what 
is the cause of this sudden change of the General toward 
me? What have I done?" 

" Please don't ask me. I can't tell you," she sobbed, 
lowering her face a moment to his hand and kissing it. 
"Don't ask me." 

" But, my dear, I must know. There can be no secrets 
between us." 

"My lips will never tell you. There have been a 
thousand slanders breathed against you. I met them 
with fury and scorn, and no one has dared repeat them 
in my hearing. I would not pollute my lips by repeating 
one of them." 

"But who is their author?" 

"I cannot tell you. I promised Mamma I wouldn't. 
She loves you, and she is on our side, but said it was 
best. Papa has made up his mind to break our engage- 



A Blow in the Dark 301 

ment forever. And I defied him. We had a scene. 
I didn't know I had the strength of will that came to 
me. I said some terrible things to him, and he said 
some very cruel things to me. Poor Mamma was pros- 
trated. Her heart is weak, and I only yielded at last 
as far as I have because of her tears and suffering. 
I could not endure her pleadings. So I promised to do 
as he wished for the present, leave for Boston, and 
cease to write to you." 

"My love, I must know my enemy to meet him and 
face the issue he raises. I cannot be strangled in the 
dark like this." 

"You will find it out soon enough; I cannot tell you," 
she repeated. "I only ask you to trust me, in this the 
darkest hour that has ever come to my life. You will 
trust me, will you not, dear?" she pleaded. 

"I have trusted you with my immortal soul. You 
know this." 

"Yes, yes, dear, I do. Then you can love and trust 
me without a letter or a word between us until Mamma 
is better and I can get her consent to write to you? 
I never knew how tenderly and desperately I love you 
until this shadow came over our lives. No power shall 
ever separate us when the final test comes, unless you 
shall grow weary." 

"Do not say that," he interrupted. " I love you with 
a love that has brought me out cf the shadows and 
shown me the face of God. Death shall not bring 
weariness. But I dread with sickening fear the efforts 
they will make to plunge you into the whirl of frivolous 
society. I shall be a lonely beggar a thousand miles 
away with not one friendly face near to plead my cause." 

"Hush!" she broke in upon him. "You are for me 
the one living presence. You are always near — oh, so 
near, closer than breathing!" 



302 The Leopard's Spots 

The roar of the train became sonorous with the 
vibration of a great bridge. He looked at his watch. 

44 We are more than half way to the stop where I must 
leave you and return." 

44 How long have you been here?" 

44 More than a half hour. It does not seem two minutes. 
Only a few minutes more face to face, and all life* 
crowding for utterance ! How can I choose what to 
say, when my tongue only desires to say I love you ! 
Bend near and whisper to me again your love vow," 
he cried, in trembling accents. 

Close to his ear she placed her lips, holding fast his 
hand, whispering again and again, 4 'My love — unto 
the uttermost. In life, in death, forever !" 

He bent again and pressed his lips on her hand and 
she felt the hct tears. 

44 And now comes the hardest thing of all," she 
sobbed. 44 I must return to you my ring." 

44 For God's sake keep it!" he pleaded. 

44 No, I promised Mamma for peace sake I would return 
it. She is very weak. I could not dare to hurt her 
now with a broken promise. She may not live long. I 
could never forgive myself. Keep it for me until I 
can wear it." 

She placed it in his hand and it burnt like a red-hot 
coal. He placed it in an inside pocket next to his heart. 
It felt like a huge millstone crushing him. A lump rose 
in his throat and choked him until he gasped for breath. 

She looked at him pathetically and saw his anguish. 

44 Come, my love," she pleaded, reproachfully, 44 you 
must not make it harder for me. You are a man. You 
are stronger than I am. Love is more my whole life 
than it can be yours. For this cruel thing I have said 
and done, you may press on my lips another kiss. If I am 
disobedient to my mother's wishes God will forgive me." 



A Blow in the Dark 303 

The train blew the long deep call for its hundred- 
mile stop and they both rose. He took her hands in his. 

"You have promised not to write to me, but I have 
made no promise. I will write to you as often as I 
can send you a cheerful message," he said. 

"It is so sweet of you!" 

"You have the little love-token still?" he asked. 

"Yes, in my bosom. I feel it warm and throbbing 
with your love, and it shall not be taken from me in 
the grave." 

"That thought will cheer the darkest hours that can 
come, and now, till we meet again, we must say good- 
by," he said huskily. 

She could make no response. He placed his arms 
around her, pressed her close to his heart for a moment 
— one long, wistful kiss, and he was gone. 

He rode slowly back to Hambright. The eastern 
horizon was fringed with the light of dawn when he 
reached the town. The more he had thought of his 
position and the way the General had treated him in 
attempting to settle his fate by a fiat of his own will 
without a hearing, the more it roused his wrath and 
nerved him for the struggle. They were to measure 
wills in a contest that on his part had life for its stake. 

"I'll give the old warrior the fight of his career!" he 
muttered, as he snapped his square jaws together with 
the grip of a vise. "My brains and every power with 
which nature has endowed me against his will and his 
money. And for the dastard who has slandered me 
there will be a reckoning." 

He was fighting in the dark, but deep down in him he 
had a soldier's love for a fight. His soul rose to meet 
the challenge of this hidden foe armed in the steel of 
a proud heritage of courage. He went to bed and slept 
soundly for six hours. 



CHAPTER XVI 
THL MYSTERY OF PAIN 

GASTON awoke next morning at half -past ten 
o'clock with a dull headache and a sense of 
hopeless depression. His anger had cooled 
and left him the pitiful consciousness of his loss. He 
slowly and mechanically dressed. 

When he buttoned his coat he felt something hard 
press against his heart. It was the ring. He sat down 
on his bed and drew it from his pocket. To his surprise 
he found coiled inside it and tied by a tiny ribbon a 
ringlet of her hair. She had taken off the ring in her 
mother's presence and promised her to register and mail 
it in Atlanta. She had bound this little piece of herself 
with it. He kissed it tenderly. 

"My God, it is hard!" he groaned. And all the 
unshed tears that his eager interest in her presence and 
his kindling anger the night before had kept back now 
blinded him. 

He did not notice his door softly open, nor know his 
mother was near until she placed her hand gently on his 
shoulder. He looked up at her face full of tender 
sympathy, and poured cut to her his trouble in a torrent 
of hot, rebellious words. 

"What have I done to be treated like a dog in this 
way?" he ended, with a voice trembling with protest. 

"Perhaps you have offended the General in some 
way?" 

"Impossible. I have been the soul of deference 
to him." 

3°4 



The Mystery of Pain 305 

"He's a very proud man when his vanity is touched, 
are you sure of it ? " 

"As sure as that I live. No; some scoundrel has 
interfered between us and in some unaccountable way 
covered me with infamy in the General's eyes." 

"But who could have done it?" 

" I used my utmost power of persuasion to get it from 
her. But she would not tell me. I have been stabbed 
in the dark." 

"Whom do you suspect? She has a dozen suitors." 

"There's only one man among them who is capable of 
it — Allan McLeod." 

"Nonsense, child. He is not one of her suitors," 
she protested, warmly. 

' ' Then why does he hang around the house with such 
dogged persistence?" 

"He has always had the run of the house. His 
father committed him to the General when he died on 
the battlefield." 

Her face clouded, and then a great pity for his sorrow 
filled her heart. She stooped and kissed him. 

"Come, Charlie, you must cheer up. If she loves 
you, it's everything. You will win her." 

"But what rankles in my soul is that 1 have been 
treated like a dog. If he objected to my poverty, that 
was as evident the first day he welcomed me to his house 
as the day he dictated to her his brutal message, refusing 
me a word. He welcomed me to his house, and gave 
Miss Sallie his approval of our love while I was there. 
There could be no mistake, for she told me so." 

"I can't understand it," she interrupted. 

"Now he suddenly shows me the door and refuses to 
allow me to even ask an explanation. If he thinks he 
can settle my life for me in that simple manner, I'll 
show him that I'll at least help in the settlement." 



306 The Leopard's Spots 

"Good. I like to see your eyes flash that fire. 
Don't forget your resolution. Your enemies are your 
best friends/' She said this with a ring of her old 
aristocratic pride. "Come," she continued, "I've a 
nice warm breakfast saved for you. You don't know 
how much good you have done me in my lonely life." 

"Dear Mother!" he whispered, pressing her hand. 

After breakfast he went to his office and read over 
slowly the letters he had received from Sallie, kissed 
them one by one, tied them up and sent them to her 
mother. He took the ring out of his pocket and locked 
it in one of his drawers. 

"I can't work to-day. It's no use trying!" he 
muttered, looking out of his window. He locked his 
office and started downtown with no purpose except 
in the walk to try to fight his pain. Instinctively he 
found his way to Tom Camp's cottage. 

"Tom, old boy, I'm in deep water. You've been 
there. I just want to feel your hand." 

Tom was clearing up his kitchen with one hand and 
holding the other tight over the wound near his spinal 
column. He suffered untold agonies through the night 
and was suffering yet, but he never mentioned it. 

"You've just got your blues again!" Tom laughed. 

"No; a devil has stabbed me in the back in the 
dark." And he told Tom of his love and his in- 
explicable trouble. 

"So, so!" Tom mused with dancing eyes. "The 
General's gal, Miss Sallie ! My, my, but ain't she a 
beauty! Next to my own little gal there she's the 
purtiest thing in No'th Caliny. And you're her sweet- 
heart, and she told you she loved you?" 

"Yes." 

•'Then what ails you? Man, to hear that from such 
lips as she's got's music enough for a year. You want 



The Mystery of Pain 307 

the whole regimental band to be playin* all the time. 
If she loves you, that's enough now to give you nerve 
to fight all earth and hell combined." Tom urged this 
with an enthusiasm that admitted no reply. 

Flora had climbed in his lap, and was going through 
his pockets to find some candy. 

"You didn't bring me a bit this time!" she cried f 
reproachfully. 

"Honey, I forgot it," he apologised. 

"I don't believe you love me any more, Charlie," 
she declared, placing her hands on his cheeks and looking 
steadily into his eyes. "Am I your sweetheart yet?" 

"Of course, dearie, and about the only one I can 
depend on." 

"La, Charlie, your eyes are red ! " she cried, in surprise. 
"Do you cry?" 

"Sometimes, when my heart gets too full." 

"Then I'll kiss the red away !" she said, as she softly 
kissed his eyes. 

"That's good, Flora. It will make them better." 

"Now, Pappy," she said, triumphantly, "you say I'm 
getting too big to cry, and I ain't but eleven years old, 
and Charlie's big as you and he cries." 

Tom took her in his arms and smoothed his hand 
over her fair hair with a tenderness that had in 
its trembling touch all the mystery of both mother 
and father love in which his brooding soul had 
wrapped her. 

Gaston returned home with lighter step. He met, 
as he crossed the square, the Preacher, who was waiting 
for him. 

"Come here and sit down a minute. I*ve heard of 
your trouble. You have my sympathy. But you'll 
come out all right. The oak that's bent by the storm 
makes a fiber fit for a ship's rib. You can't make steel 



308 The Leopard's Spots 

without white heat. God's just trying your temper, 
boy, to see if there's anything in you. When he has 
tried you in the fire, and the pure gold shines, he will 
call you to higher things." 

Gaston nodded his assent to this saying. "And yet, 
Doctor, none of us like the touch of fire or the smell of 
the smoke of our clothes." 

"You are right. But it's good for the soul. You 
are learning now that we must face things that we don't 
like in this world. I am older than you. I will tell 
you something that you can't really know until you have 
lived through this. Love seems to you at this time the 
only thing in the world. But it is not. My deepest 
sympathy is with Sallie. She's already pure gold. To 
such a woman love is the center of gravity of all life. 
This is not true of a strong, normal man. The center 
of gravity of a strong man's life as a whole is not in love 
and the emotions, but in justice and intellect and their 
expression in the wider social relations." 

"And that means that I must brace up for this 
political fight?" 

"Exactly so. And it's the best thing you can do for 
your love. Become a power and you can coerce even a 
man of the General's character." 

"You are right, Doctor. I had my mind about fixed 
on that course." 

j " You will find the County Committee in session in the 
Clerk's office there now. They want to see you. I 
tell you to fight this coalition of McLeod and the farmers 
every inch up to the last hour it is formed, and if McLeod 
wins them and the alliance is made, then fight to break 
it every day and every hour and every minute till the 
votes are counted out." 

Gaston went at once into the consultation with the 
Democratic County committee. 



CHAPTER XVII 
IS GOD OMNIPOTENT ? 

AS Gaston left the Preacher, the Reverend Ephraim 
Fox approached. He was the pastor of the 
Negro Baptist church, and had succeeded old 
Uncle Josh at his death ten years before. 

He bowed deferentially, and, hat in hand, stood close 
to the seat on which Durham was still resting. 

"How dis you doan' come down ter our chu'ch en 
preach fur us no mo', Br'er Durham ? We been er havin' 
powerful times down dar lately, en de folks wants you 
ter come en preach some mo'." 

"I can't do it, Eph. M 

"What de matter, Preacher? We ain't hu't yo' 
feelin's, is we?" 

"No, not in a personal way; but you've got beyond 
me. 

"How's dat?" asked Ephraim, rolling his eyes. 

"Well, as long as I preach to your folks about heaven 
and the glory beyond this world the)'' shout and sweat 
and sing. And when I jump on the old sinners in the : 
Bible, they are in glee. They like to see the fur fly. 
But the minute I pounce on them about stealing and 
lying and drinking and lust — they don't want to 
furnish any of the fur." 

"De Lawd, Preacher, hit's des de same wid de white 
folks !" urged Ephraim, with a wink. 

"That's so. But the difference is your people talk 
back at me after the meeting." 

"How's dat?" Ephraim repeated. 

309 



310 The Leopard's Spots 

"Why, when I preach righteousness and judgment on 
the thief, and accuse them of stealing, I lose my wood 
and my corn and my chickens." 

Ephraim was silent a moment and then he smiled as 
he said: 

"Preacher, dey ain't er nigger in dis town doan' 
lub you." 

"Yes, I know it. That's why they steal from me 
so much." 

"Go 'long wid yo' fun!" roared Ephraim. "You 
know you ain't gone back on us des' cause some 
nigger tuck er stick er wood — dey's sumfin' else — you 
cain' fool me." 

"Well, you are right; that isn't the main reason. 
There are others. You turned a man out of your church 
for voting the Democratic ticket." 

"Yes; but Preacher," interrupted Eph, impatiently, 
"dat wuz er low-down, mena nigger. He didn't hab no 
salvation nohow!" 

"Then you keep a deacon in your church who served 
two terms in the penitentiary." 

"But dat's de bes' deacon I got," pleaded Eph, sadly. 

"Turn him out, I tell you." 

"But dey all does little tings." 

"Turn 'em all out." 

" Den we ain't got no chu'ch, en de shepherd ain't got 
no flock ter tend, er ter shear. You des splain how de 
Lawd temper de win' ter de shorn lam'. Den ef I doan' 
shear 'em, de win' mought blow too hard on 'em. En 
ef I doan' keep 'em in de pen, how kin I shear 'em? I 
axes you dat?" 

The Preacher smiled and continued, "Then I've heard 
some ugly things about you, Eph," suddenly darting a 
piercing look straight into his face. 

"Who, me?" 



Is God Omnipotent? 311 

"Yes, you. And I can't afford to go into the pulpit 
with you any more. In the old slavery days you were 
taught the religion of Christ. It didn't mean crime 
and lust and lying and drinking, whatever it meant. 
Your religion has come to be a stench. You are getting 
lower and lower. You will be governed by no one. I 
can't use force. I leave you alone. You have gone 
beyond me." 

"But de Lawd lub a sinner, en his mercy enduref 
foreber!" solemnly grumbled Ephraim. 

"In the old days," persisted the Preacher, "I used 
to preach to your people. I saw before me many men 
of character: carpenters, bricklayers, wheelwrights, 
farmers, faithful home servants that loved their masters 
and were faithful unto death. Now I see a cheap lot 
of thieves and jailbirds and trifling women seated in 
high places. You have shown no power to stand alone 
on the solid basis of character." 

"V T hy, Br'er Durham," urged Eph, in an injured 
voice, "I baptised inter de kingdom over a hundred 
precious souls las' year." 

"Yes, but what they needed was not a baptism of 
water. You Negroes need a racial baptism into truth, 
integrity, virtue, self-restraint, industry, courage, 
patience and purity of manhood and womanhood. I 
used to be hopeful about you, but I'd just as well 
be frank with you — I've given you up. I've said 
the grace of God was sufficient for all problems. I 
don't know now. I'm getting older and it grows 
darker to me. I have come to believe there are 
some things God Almighty cannot do. Can God make 
a stone so big He can't lift it ? In either event, He is 
not omnipotent. It looks like He did just that thing 
when He made the Negro. Leave me out of your 
calculation, Ephraim." 



312 The Leopard's Spots 

"Mus' gib de nigger time, Preacher!" Eph muttered, 
as he walked slowly away. 

When Gaston emerged from the court-house the 
Preacher joined him and they walked home to the 
hotel together. 

"What did the two farmers on your committee think 
of the chances of preventing the Alliance from joining 
the Negroes?" 

" Not much of them. They say we can't do anything 
with them when the test comes, unless we 'will indorse 
their scheme of issuing money on corn and pumpkins 
and potatoes storeu in a government bam. If it comes 
to that, I will not prostitute my intellect by advocating 
any such measure on the floor of our convention. We 
stand for one thing at least, the supremacy of Anglo- 
Saxon civilisation. I had rather be beaten by the 
Negroes and their allies this time on such an issue." 

"But, my boy, if McLeod and his Negroes get control 
of this state for four years, they can so corrupt its laws 
and its electorate they may hold it a quarter of a century. 
We must fight to the last ditch." 

"I draw the line at pumpkin leaves for money," 
insisted Gaston. 

It was but ten days to the meeting of the Democratic 
state convention, and they were coming together 
divided in opinion and at sea as to their policy, with 
a united militant Farmers' Alliance demanding the 
uprooting of the foundations of the economic world, 
and a hundred thousand Negro voters grinning at this 
opportunity to strike their white foes, while McLeod 
stood in the background smiling over the certainty of 
his triumph. 



CHAPTER XVIII 
THE WAYS OF BOSTON 

WHEN Helen Lowell reached Boston from her 
visit with Sallie Worth she found her father 
in the midst of his political campaign. The 
Honourable Everett Lowell was the representative of 
Congress from the Boston Highlands district. His 
home was an old-fashioned white Colonial house built 
during the American Revolution. 

He was not a man of great wealth, but well-to-do, a 
successful politician, enthusiastic student, a graduate 
of Harvard, and he had always made a specialty of 
championing the cause of the "freedmen." He was a 
chronic proposer of a military force bill for the South. 

His family was one of the proudest in America. He 
had a family tree five hundred years old — an unbroken 
line of unconquerable men who held liberty dearer than 
life. He believed in the heritage of good, honest blood as 
he believed in blooded horses. His home was furnished 
in perfect taste, with beautiful old rosewood and 
mahogany stuff that had both character and history. 
On the walls hung the stately portraits of his ancestors, 
representative of three hundred years of American life. 
He never confused his political theories about the abstract 
rights of the African with his personal choice of associates 
or his pride in h i 's Anglo-Saxon blood. With him 
politics was one thing, society another. 

His pet hobby, which combined in one his philanthropic 
ideals and his practical politics, was of late a patronage 
he had extended to young George Harris, the bright 

3 1 3 



314 The Leopard's Spots 

mulatto son of Eliza and George Harris, whose dramatic 
slave history had made their son famous at Harvard. 

This young Negro was a speaker of fair ability, and 
was accompanying Lowell on his campaign tours of the 
district, making speeches for his patron, who had 
obtained for him a clerk's position in the United States 
Custom-House. Harris was quite a drawing card at 
these meetings. He had a natural aptitude for politics; 
modest, affable, handsome and almost white, he was a 
fine argument in himself to support Lowell's political 
theories, who used him for all he was worth as he had 
at the previous election. 

Harris had become a familiar figure at Lowell's home 
in the spacious library, where he had the free use of the 
books, and frequently he dined with the family, when 
there at dinner time hard at work on some political 
speech or some study for a piece of music. 

Lowell had met his daughter at the depot behind his 
pair of Kentucky thoroughbreds. This daughter, his 
only child, was his pride and joy. She was a blonde 
beauty, and her resemblance to her father was remark- 
able. He was a widower, and this lovely girl, at once 
the incarnation of his lost love and so fair a reflection of 
his being, had ruled him with absolute sway during the 
past few years. 

He was laughing like a boy at her coming. 

"Ah, my beauty, the sight of your face gives me new 
life!" he cried, smiling with love and admiration. 

"You mustn't try to spoil me!" she laughed. 

"Did you really have a good time in Dixie?" he 
whispered. 

"Papa, such a time!" she exclaimed, shutting her 
eyes as though she were trying to live it over again. 

"Really?" 

"Beaux, morning, noon and night — dancing, moon- 



The Ways of Boston 315 

light rides, boats gliding along the beautiful river and 
mocking-birds singing softly their love-song under the 
window all night !" 

"Well, you did have romance," he declared. 

11 Yes," she went on, "and such people, such hospitality 
—I feel as though I never had lived before." 

"My dear, you mustn't desert us all like that," he 
protested. 

"I can't help it; I'm a rebel now." 

"Then keep still till the campaign's over ! " he warned r 
in mock fear. 

"And the boys down there," she continued, "they are 
such boys ! Time doesn't seem to be an object with 
them at all. Evidently they have never heard of our 
uplifting Yankee motto, ' Time is money.' And such 
knightly deference, such charming, old-fashioned, 
chivalrous ways!" 

"But, dear, isn't that a little out of date?" 

"How staid and proper and busy Boston seems! I 
know I am going to be depressed by it." 

"I know what's the matter with you!" he whistled, 

"What?" she slyly asked. 

"One of those boys." 

"I confess. Papa, he's as handsome as a prince." 

"What does he look like?" 

"He is tall, dark, with black hair, black eyes, slender, 
graceful, all fire and energy." 

"What's his name?" 

"St. Clare — Robert St. Clare. His father was away 
from home. He's a politician, I think." 

"You don't say! St. Clare. Well, of all the jokes! 
His father is my Democratic chum in the House — an 
old fire-eating Bourbon, but a capital fellow." 

"Did you ever see him f " 

"No, but Fve had good times with his father. He 



$i6 The Leopard's Spots 

used to own a hundred slaves. He's a royal fellow, and 
pretty well fixed in life for a Southern politician. I 
don't think, though, I ever saw his boy. Anything 
really serious?" 

"He hasn't said a word — but he's coming to see me 
next week." 

"Well, things are moving, I must say!" 

"Yes; I pretended I must consult you before telling 
him he could come. I didn't want to seem too anxious. 
I'm half afraid to let him wandet about Boston much; 
there are too many girls here." 

Her father laughed proudly and looked at her. "I 
hope you will find him. all your heart most desires, and 
my congratulations on your first love." 

"It will be my last, too," she answered, seriously. 

"Ah, you're entirely too young and pretty to 
say that ! " 

"I mean it," she said, earnestly, with a smile trem- 
bling on her lips. 

Her father was silent and pressed her hand for an 
answer. As they entered the gate of the home, they 
met young Harris coming out with some books under 
his arm. He bowed gracefully to them and passed on. 

"Oh, Papa, I had forgotten all about your fad for 
that young Negro ! " 

"Well, what of it, dear?" 

"You love me very much, don't you?" she asked, 
tenderly. "I'm going to ask you to be inconsistent, 
for my sake." 

"That's easy. I'm often that for nobody's sake. 
Consistency is only the terror of weak minds." 

"I'm going to ask you to keep that young Negro out 
of the house when my Southern friends are here. After 
my sweetheart comes I expect Sallie and her mother. I 
wouldn't have either of them meet him here in our 



The Ways of Boston 317 

library, and especially in our dining-room, for anything 
on earth." 

"Well, you have joined the rebels, haven't you?" 

"You know I never did like Negroes anyway," she 
continued. ' ' They always gave me the horrors. Young 
Harris is a scholarly gentleman, I know. He is good- 
looking, talented, and I've played his music for him 
sometimes to please you, but I can't get over that little 
kink in his hair, his big nostrils and full lips, and when 
he looks at me it makes my flesh creep." 

"Certainly, my darling, you don't need to coax me. 
The Lowells, I suspect, know by this time what is due 
to a guest. When your guests come our home and our 
time are theirs. If eating meat offends we will live on 
herbs. I'll send Harris down to the other side of the 
district and keep him at work there until the end of 
the campaign. My slightest wish is law for him." 

"You see, Papa," she went on, "they never could 
understand that Negro's ways around our house, and 
I know if he were to sit down at our table with them 
they would walk out of the dining-room with an excuse 
of illness and go home on the first train." 

"And yet," returned her father, lifting her from the 
carriage, "their homes were full of Negroes, were they 
not?" 

"Yes; but they know their place. I've seen those 
beautiful Southern children kiss their old black ' Mammy.' 
It made me shudder, until I discovered they did it just 
as I kiss Fido." 

"And this a daughter of Boston, the home of Garrison 
and Sumner!" he exclaimed. 

"I've heard that Boston mobbed Garrison once," 
she observed. 

"Yes; and I doubt if we have canonised Sumner yet. 
All right. If you say so, I'll order a steam calliope 



318 The Leopard's Spots 

stationed at the gate and hire a man to play 'Dixie' 
for you !" 

She laughed and ran up the steps. 

• ••••• a 

Sallie determined to keep the secret of her sorrow in 
her own heart. On the ocean voyage she had cried the 
whole first day, and then kissed her lover's picture, put 
it down in the bottom of her trunk, brushed the tears 
away, and determined the world should not look on 
her suffering. 

She had written Helen of her lover's declaration and 
of her happiness. She would find a good excuse for her 
sorrowful face in their separation. She knew he would 
write to her, for he had said so, and she had slipped the 
address into his hand as he left the car that night. 

At first she was puzzled to think what she could do 
about answering these letters so Helen would not 
suspect her trouble. Then she hit on the plan of writing 
to him every day, posting the letters herself and placing 
them in her own trunk instead of the post-box. 

"He will read them some day. They will relieve my 
heart," she sadly told herself. 

Helen met her on the pier with a cry of girlish joy, 
and the first word she uttered was: 

"Oh, Sallie, Bob loves me! He's been here two 
weeks, and he's just gone home. I have been in heaven ! 
We are engaged!" 

"Then I'll kiss you again, Helen." She gave her 
another kiss. 

"And I've a big letter at home for you already. It's 
postmarked 'Hambright.' It came this morning. I 
know you will feast on it. If Bob don't write me faith- 
fully I'll make him come here and live in Boston." 

When Sallie got this letter she sat down in her room 
and read and reread its passionate words. There was a 



The Ways of Boston 319 

tone of bitterness and wounded pride in it. She 
struggled bravely to keep the tears back. Then the 
tone of the letter changed to tenderness and faith and 
infinite love that struggled in vain for utterance. 

She kissed the name and sighed. "Now I must go 
down and chat and smile with Helen. She's so silly 
about her own love, if I talk about Bob she will 
forget I live." 



CHAPTER XIX 
THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT 

MRS. WORTH had arrived in Boston a few days 
after Sallie, coming direct by rail. She was 
still very weak from her recent attack, and it 
cut her to the heart to watch Sallie write those letters 
faithfully and never mail them out of deference to 
her wishes. 

One night she drew her daughter down and tenderly 
kissed her. 

"Sallie, dear, you don't know how it hurts me to see 
3?-ou suffer this way, and write, and write these letters 
your lover never sees. You may send him one letter a 
week; I don't care what the General says." 

There was a sob and another kiss, and Sallie was 
crying on her breast. 

In answer to her first letter, Gaston was thrilled with 
a new inspiration. He sat down that night and answered 
it in verse. All the deep longings of his soul, his hopes 
and fears, his pain and dreams he set in rhythmic 
music. Her mother read all his letters after Sallie. 
And she cried with sorrow and pride over this poem. 

"Sallie, I don't blame you for being proud of such a 
lover. Your life is rich hallowed by the love of such a 
man. Your father is wrong in his position. If I were 
a girl and held the love of such a man I'd cherish it as 
I would my soul's salvation. Be patient and faithful." 

"Sweet mother heart!" she whispered, as she 
smoothed the gray hair tenderly. 

320 



The Shadow of a Doubt 321 

Alian McLeod had arrived in Boston the day before, 
and the .norning's papers were full of an interview with 
him on iiis brilliant achievement in breaking the ranks 
of the Bourbon Democracy in North Carolina and the 
certainty of the success of his ticket at the approaching 
election. 

McLeod sent the paper to Mrs. Worth by a special 
messenger, lest she might not see it, and that evening 
called. He asked Sallie to accompany him to the 
theatre, and when she refused spent the evening. 

When her mother had retired McLeod drew his seat 
near her and again told her in burning words his love. 

"Miss Sallie, I have won the battle of life at its very 
threshold. I shall be a United States Senator in a few 
months. I want to lead you, my bride, into the gallery 
of the Senate before I walk down its aisles to take the 
oath. I have loved you faithfully for years. I have 
your father's consent to my suit. I asked him before 
leaving on this trip. Surely you will not say no?" 

"Allan McLeod, I do not love you. I love another. 
I hate the sight of you and the sound of your voice." 

"If you do not marry Gaston, will you give me 
a chance?" 

"If I do not marry the man of my choice, I will never 
marry." 

McLeod returned to the hotel with the fury of the 
devil seething in his soul. He determined to return to 
Hambright, and if possible entrap Gaston in dissipation 
and destroy his faith in Sallie 's loyalty. 

He wrote to the General that he had been rejected by 
his daughter, who still corresponded with Gaston. When 
General Worth received this letter he wrote in wrath to 
his wife, peremptorily forbidding Sallie to write another 
line to Gaston, and closed, saying: 

"I had trusted this matter to you, my dear; now I 



322 The Leopard's Spots 

take it out of your hands. I forbid another line or 
word to this man." 

Gaston watched and waited in vain for the letter he 
was to receive next week. Again his soul sank with 
doubt and fear. What fiend was striking him with an 
unseen hand ? He felt he should choke with rage as he 
thought of the infamy of such a warfare. 

His mother said to him shortly after McLeod's 
arrival, "Charlie, I have some bad news for you." 

"It can't be any worse than I have — the misery of 
an unexplained silence of two weeks." 

" I feel that I ought to tell you. It is the explanation 
of that silence, I fear." 
, "What is it, Mother?" he asked, soberly. 

"I hear that Sallie has plunged into frivolous . c xiety, 
is dancing every night at the hotel at Narr gansett 
Pier, where they are stopping now, and flirting with a 
half-dozen young men." 

"I don't believe it," growled Gaston. 

"I'm afraid it's true, Charlie, and I'm furious with 
her for treating you like this, I thought she had more 
character." 

"I'll love and trust her to the end!" he declared, as 
he went moodily to his office. But the poison of sus- 
picion rankled in his thoughts. Why had she ceased to 
write ? Was not this mask of society a habit with those 
who had learned to wear it ? Was not habit, after all, 
life? Could one ever escape it? It seemed to him 
more than probable that the old habits should reassert 
themselves in such a crisis, a thousand miles removed 
from him or his personal influence. He held a very 
exaggerated idea of the corruption of modern society. 
And his heart grew heavier from day to day with the 
feeling that she was slipping away from him. 



CHAPTER XX 
A NEW LESSON IN LOVE 

McLEOD returned home to find his plans of 
political success in perfect order. The pro- 
gramme went through without a hitch. In 
spite of the most desperate efforts of the Democrats he 
carried the state by a large majority and made, for the 
Republican party and its strange allies, the first breach 
in the solid phalanx of Democratic supremacy since 
Legree left his legacy of corruption and terror. 

The Legislature elected two Senators. To the 
amazement of the world, the day before the caucus of 
the Republicans met, McLeod withdrew. He had no 
opposition so far as anybody knew, but a curious thing 
had happened. The Reverend Jchn Durham discovered 
the fact that McLeod kept fi still and had established 
his mother as an illicit distiller years before. One of 
his deputies, who had become an inebriate, confessed 
this to the Doctor, who had informed the Preacher. 

The Preacher put this important piece of information 
into the hands of a daiing young Republican who had 
always bten one from principle. He went to Raleigh 
and interviewed McLeod. At first McLeod denied 
and blustered and swore. When confronted with the 
proofs, he gave up and asked, sullenly: 

"What do you want?" 

"Get out of the race." 

"Ail right. Is that all? You're on top." 

^No; give me the nomination." 

"Never!" he yelled, with an oath. 

3 2 3 



324 The Leopard's Spots 

"Then I'll expose you in to-morrow morning's 
paper and that's the end of you." 

McLeod hesitated a moment and then said: " I'll agree. 
You've got me. But I'll make one little condition. You 
must give me the name of your informant." 

"The Reverend John Durham." 

"I thought as much." 

To the amazement of every one, McLeod waived 
the crown and placed it on the head of one of his lieu- 
tenants. He returned to Hambright from this dramatic 
event with an unruffled front. To his cronies he said: 
" Bah ! I was joking. Never had any idea of taking the 
office for myself. I'm playing for larger stakes. I make 
these puppets and pull the strings." 

He devoted himself assiduously in the leisure which 
followed to Mrs. Durham. He never intimated to 
Durham that he knew anything about the part he had 
taken in his withdrawal from the Senatorship. Nor had 
the Preacher told his* wife of his discovery. They had 
quarrelled several times about McLeod. His wife 
seemed determined to remain loyal to the boy she 
had taught. 

McLeod in his talk with her intimated that he had 
withdrawn from a desire vaguely forming in his mind to 
get out of the filth of politics altogether, sooner or later, 
influenced by her voice alone. 

With subtle skill he played upon her vanity and jeal- 
ousy, and at last felt that he had entangled her so far 
he could dare a declaration of his feelings. There was 
one element only in her mental make-up he feared. She 
held tenaciously the old-fashioned romantic ideals of 
love. To her it seemed a divine mystery linking the sou) 
that felt it to the infinite. If he could only destroy this 
divine mystery idea, he felt sure that her sense of isola- 
tion and her proud rebellion against the disap- 



A New Lesson in Love 325 

pointments of life would make her an easy prey to his 
blandishments. 

He searched his library over for a book that could 
scientifically demonstrate the purely physical basis of 
love. He knew that somewhere in his studies at a 
medical college in New York he had read it. 

At last he discovered it among a lot of old magazines. 
It was a brief study by a great physician of Paris, 
entitled "The Natural History of Love." He gave it to 
her, and asked her to read it and give him her candid 
opinion of its philosophy. 

He waited a week and on a Saturday when the 
Preacher was absent at one of his county mission 
stations he called at the hotel for a long afternoon's 
talk. He determined to press his suit. 

"Do you know, Mrs. Durham, what gives a preacher 
his boasted power of the spirit over his audiences ? " he 
inquired with a curious laugh, in the midst of which he 
changed his tone of voice. 

"No. You are an expert on the diseases of preachers ; 
what is it? " 

"Very simple. Religion is founded on love. There 
never was a magnetic preacher who was not a resistless 
magnet for scores of magnetic women. If you don't be- 
lieve it, watch how resistless is the impulse of all these 
good-looking women to shake hands with their preacher, 
and how fondly they look at him across the pews if the 
crowd is too dense to reach his hand." 

A frown passed over her face, and she winced at the 
thrust, yet her answer was a surprising question to him: 

"Do you really believe in anything, Allan? " 

"You ask that?" he said, leaning closer. "You 
whose great, dark eyes look through a man's very soul ? " 

" I begin to think I have never seen yours. I doubt ii 
you have a soul." 



326 The Leopard's Spots 

"Well, what's the use of a soul? I can't satisfy the 
wants of my body." 

"Answer my question. Do you believe in anything ? " 

"Yes," he replied, his voice sinking to a tense whisper» 
"I believe in Woman — in love." 

"In Woman?" 

"Yes, Woman." 

"You mean women," she sneered. 

He started at her answer, looked intently at her, and 
said deliberately: 

"I mean you, the One Woman, the only woman in the 
world to me." 

"I do not believe one word you have uttered, yet I 
confess with shame you have always fascinated me." 

"Why with shame? You have but one life to live. 
The years pass. Even beauty so rare as yours fades at 
last. The end is the grave and worms. Why dash from 
your beautiful lips the cup of life when it is full to the 
brim?" 

1 ' How skilfully you echo the dark thoughts that flit 
on devil wings through the soul, when we feel the bitter- 
ness of life's failure, its contradictions and mysteries ! " 
she exclaimed, closing her eyes for a moment and leaning 
back in her chair. 

"You've often talked to me about the necessity of 
some sort of slavery for the Negro if he remain in 
America. I begin to believe that slavery is a necessity 
for all women." 

"I fail to see it, sir." 

"All women are born slaves and choose to remain so 
through life. It is curious to see you, a proud, imperious 
woman, born of a race of unconquerable men, staggering 
to-day under the chains of four thousand years of con- 
ventional laws made by the brute strength of men. 
And you, if you struggle at all, beat your wings against 



A New Lesson in Love 327 

the bars that the slave-hoiding male brute has built about 
your soul, fall back at last and give up to the will of your 
master. This, too, when you hold in your simple will 
the key that would unlock your prison door and make 
you free. It's a pitiful sight." 

" How shrewd a tempter ! " 

" There you are again. He who dares to tell you that 
you are of yourself a living human being, divinely free, 
is a tempter from the devil. You are thinking about 
eternity. Well, now is eternity. Live, stand erect, take 
a deep breath, and dare to be yourself and do what you 
please. That is what I do. The future is a myth." 

-"Yes, I know the freedom of which you boast," she 
quietly observed, "it is the freedom of lust. The return 
to nature you dream of is simply the fall downward into 
the dirt out of which a rational and spiritual manhood 
has grown. I feel and know this in spite of your hand- 
some face and the fine ring of your voice." 

"Dirt! Dirt!" he mused. "Yes, I was in the dirt 
once, was born in it, the dirt of poverty and superstition 
and fears of laws here and hereafter. But I awoke at 
last and shook it off, washed myself in knowledge and 
stood erect. I am a man now, with the eye of a king, 
conscious of my power. I look a lying, hypocritical 
world in the face. I have made up my mind to live my 
own life in spite of fools, and in spite of the laws and 
conventions of fools." 

1 ' And yet I believe you carry a horse-chestnut in your 
pocket, and will not undertake an important work on 
Friday?" she returned. 

"But I never strangle a normal impulse of my 
nature that I can satisfy. I am not that big a fool, 
at least." 

She was silent, and then said, " I can never thank you 
enough for the book you sent me." 



328 The Leopard's Spots 

McLeod sighed in relief at her change of tone. Aftei 
all, she was just tantalising him. 

"Then you liked it? " he cried, with glittering eyes. 

1 ' I devoured every word of it with a greed you can- 
not understand. A great man wrote it." 

"Then we can understand each other better from 
to-day," he interrupted, smilingly. 

"Yes, far better. You gave me this book hoping that 
it might influence my character by destroying my ideal 
of love, didn't you — now frankly ? *' 

"Honestly, I did hope it would emancipate you from 
superstitions." 

" It has," she declared, but with a curious curve of her 
lip that chilled him. 

"What are you driving at? " he asked, suspiciously. 

' ' This book has given me the key that unlocked for me, 
for the first time, the riddle of my physical being. It 
has shown me the physical basis of love, just as I knew 
before there was a physical basis of the soul." 

1 ' What did you understand the book to teach ? " he 
asked. 

"Simply that love is based in its material life on the 
lobe of the brain which develops at the base of a child's 
head near the age of thirteen. That this lobe of the brain 
is the sex center, and love is impossible until it develops. 
That this center of new powers at the base of the skull 
is a physical magnet. That when a man and woman 
approach each other, who are by nature mates, these 
magnetic centers are disturbed by action and reaction, 
and that this disturbance develops the second elemental 
passion called love. The first elemental passion, hunger, 
has for its end the preservation of the individual ; while 
love finds its fulfillment in the preservation of the 
species. Love finds its satisfaction in the child, its 
ardour cools, and it dies, unless kept alive by the social 



A New Lesson in Love 329 

conventions of the family, which are not based merely 
on this violent emotion, but also on unity of tastes, 
which produce the sense of comradeship. For these 
reasons it is possible to fall violently in love more than 
once, and there are dozens of people who possess this 
magnetic power over us and would respond to it violently 
if we only came in social contact with them. That the 
romantic bombast about the possibility of but one love 
in life, and that of supernatural origin, is twaddle, and 
leads to false ideals. Have I given the argument ? " 

"Exactly. But what do you deduce from it ? " 

"Freedom." 

"Good! " he cried, licking his lips. 

"Freedom from superstitions about love," she an- 
swered, "and positive knowledge of its elemental beauty 
which Nature reveals. In short, I no longer wonder and 
brood over your charm for me. I know exactly what it 
means, and how it might occur again and again with 
another and another. I have simply throttled it in a 
moment by an act of my will, based on this knowledge." 

1 ' You amaze me ! ' ' 

"No doubt. One's character centers in the soul, or 
the appetites. Mine is in the soul ; yours in the appetites. 
I see you to-day as you really are, and I loathe you with 
an unspeakable loathing. You have opened my eyes 
with this beautiful little book of Nature. I thank you. 
Your scientist has convinced me that there are possibly 
a hundred men in the world who would affect me as you 
do, were we to meet. And when I looked back into the 
sweet face of my dead boy, I learned another truth, that 
in the union of my first great love I was bound in mar- 
riage, not simply by a social convention or a state con- 
tract, but for life by Nature's eternal law. The period 
of infancy of one child extends over twenty-one years, 
covering the whole maternal life of the woman who mar- 



3$o The Leopard's Spots 

ries at the proper age of twenty-four. This union of one 
man and one woman never seemed so sacred to me af 
now. It is Nature's law; it is God's law." 

McLeod's anger was fast rising. 

"Don't fool yourself," he sneered. "You may over- 
work your maternal intuitions. You remember the kiss 
you gave me when a boy just fifteen? Well, you fooled 
yourself then about its maternal quality. The magnet 
of my red head drew your coal black one down to it with 
irresistible power." 

"Perhaps so, Allan. Your work is done. There is 
the door. I say a last good-by, with pity for your 
shallow nature and the bitter revelation you have 
given me of your worthlessness." 

Without another word he left, but with a dark resolu- 
tion of slander with which he would tarnish her name 
and wring the Preacher's heart with anguish. 



CHAPTER XXI 
WHY THE PREACHER THREW HIS LIFE AWAY 

WHILE Mrs. Worth and Sallie were still in the 
North, the Reverend John Durham received 
a unanimous call to the pastorate of one of 
the most powerful Baptist churches in Boston, with a 
salary of five thousand dollars a year. He was receiving 
a salary of nine hundred dollars at Hambright, which 
could boast at most a population of two thousand. He 
declined the call by return mail. 

The committee were thunderstruck at thi quick 
adverse decision, refused to consider it final, and wrote 
him a long, urgent letter of protest against such ill- 
considered treatment. They urged that he must come 
to Boston and preach one Sunday, at least, in answer 
to their generous offer, before rendering a final decision. 
He consented to do so, and went to Boston. He sought 
Sallie the day after his arrival. 

"Ah, my beautiful daughter of the South, it's good to 
see you shining here in the midst of the splendours of 
the Hub, the fairest of them all I " he said, shaking her 
hand feelingly. 

"You mean pining, not shining," she protested. 

"That's better still. I knew your heart was in the 
right place." 

"How is he, Doctor? " she asked. 

"He's trying to pull himself together with his work, 
and succeeding. The shock of a great sorrow has 
steadied his nerves and broadened his sympathies, 
and it will make him a man." 

33* 



2$2 The Leopard's Spots 

A look of longing came over her face. " I don't want 
him to be too strong without me," she faltered. 

"Never fear. He's so despondent at times I have to 
try to laugh him out of countenance." 

She smiled and pressed his hand for answer as he rose 
to go. 

" How do you like these Yankees, Miss Sallie ? " 

"I've been surprised and charmed beyond measure 
with everything I've seen." 

"You don't say so! How?" 

"Well, I thought they were cold-blooded and inhospi- 
table. I never made a more foolish mistake. I have 
never been more at home or been treated more graciously 
in the South. To tell you the truth, they seem like our 
most cultured people at home, warm-hearted . cordial, 
sensible and neighbourly. Mamma is so pleased she's 
trying to claim kin ^ith the Puritans through her 
Scotch Covenanter ancestry." 

"After all, I believe you are right. I never preached 
in my life to so sensitive an audience. There's an at- 
mosphere of solid comfort, good sense and intelligence 
here that holds me in a spell. This is the place in which 
I've dreamed I'd like to live and work." 

"Then you will accept, Doctor? " 

"Now listen to you, child! Don't you think I've a 
heart, too ? My brain and body longs for such a home, 
but my heart's down South with mine own people who 
love and need me." 

The committee did their best to bring the Preacher 
to a favourable decision at once, but he smiled a firm 
refusal. They refused to report it to the church, and 
sent Deacon Crane, now a venerable man of seventy-six, 
the warmest admirer of the Preacher among them all, to 
Hambright. They authorised him to make an amazing 
offer of salary, if that would be an inducement. 



Why the Preacher Threw His Life Away 333 

When the Deacon reached Hambright and saw its 
poverty and general air of unimportance he felt 
encouraged. 

"A man of such power stay a lifetime in this little 
hole? Impossible!" he exclaimed under his breath, 
when he looked out of the bus along the wide, deserted- 
looking streets, with a straggling cottage here and there 
on either side. 

He stopped at the same hotel with the Preacher and 
became his shadow for a week. He was seated with 
him under the oak in the square, threshing over his 
argument for the hundredth time in the most good- 
natured but everlastingly persistent way. 

"Doctor, it's perfect nonsense for a man of your mag- 
nificent talents, of your culture and power over an audi- 
ence, to think of living always in a little village like this ! " 

"No, Deacon, my work is here tor the South." 

"But, my dear man, in Boston it would be for the 
whole nation, North and South. I'll tell you what we 
will do. Say you will come, and we will make your 
salary eight thousand a year. That's the largest salary 
ever offered a Baptist Preacher in America. You will 
pack our church with people, give us new life, and we 
can afford it. You will be a power in Boston, and a 
power in the world." 

The Preacher smiled and was silent. At length he said : 

"I appreciate your offer, Deacon. You pay me the 
highest compliment you know how to express. But you 
prosperous Yankees can't get into your heads the idea 
that there are many things which money can't measure." 

11 But we know a good thing when we see it, and we go 
for it ! " interrupted the Deacon. 

"Believe me," continued the Preacher, "I appreciate 
the sacrifice, the generosity and breadth of sym- 
pathy this offer shows in your hearts. But it is not for 



334 The Leopard's Spots 

me. My work is here. I don't mind confessing to you 
that you have vastly pleased me with that offer. I'll 
brag about it to myself the rest of my life." 

" But, Doctor, think how much greater power a gener- 
ous salary will give you in furnishing your equipment 
for work and in ministering to any cause you may have 
at heart," pleaded the Deacon. 

"I don't know. I have a salary of nine hundred dol- 
lars. With five hundred I buy books, food, clothes, 
shelter, the companionship for the soul. The balance 
suffices for the body. I haven't time to bother with 
money. The man who receives a big salary must live 
up to its social obligations, and he must pay for it with 
his life." 

"Doctor, there must be some tremendous force that 
holds you to such a decision in a village. It seems to me 
you are throwing your life away." 

"There is a tremendous force, Deacon. It's the over- 
whelming sense of obligation I feel to my own people 
who have suffered so much, and are still in the grip of 
poverty and threatened with greater trials. I can't 
leave my own people while they are struggling yet with 
this unsolved Negro problem. Two great questions 
shadow the future of the American people, the conflict 
between Labour and Capital and the conflict between 
the African and the Anglo-Saxon race. The greatest, 
most dangerous and most hopeless of these is the latter. 
My place is here." 

The Deacon laughed. "You're a crank on that subject. 
Come to Boston and you will see with a better perspec- 
tive that the question is settling itself. In fact, the war 
absolutely settled it." 

"Deacon," said the Preacher, with a quizzical expres- 
sion about his eyes, "do you believe in the doctrine of 
Election?" 



Why the Preacher Threw His Life Away 335 

"Yes, I do." 

"I thought so. You know, I never saw a man who 
believed in the doctrine of Election who didn't believe he 
was elected. I never saw a man in my life, except a 
lying politician, who declared the Negro problem was 
settled, unless he had removed his family to a place of 
fancied safety where he would never come in contact 
with it. And they all believe that the Negro's place is 
in the South." 

The Deacon laughed good-naturedly. 

1 ' Come with us and we will show you greater prob- 
lems. For one, the life and death struggle of Christianity 
itself with modern materialism. I tell you the Negro 
problem was settled when slavery was destroyed." 

"You never made a sadder mistake. The South did 
not fight to hold slaves. Our Confederate Government 
at Richmond offered to guarantee to Europe the freedom 
of every slave for the recognition of our independence. 
Slavery was bound of its own weight to fall. Virginia 
came within one vote in her Assembly of freeing her 
slaves years before the war. But for the frenzy of your 
Abolition fanatics, who first sought to destroy the Union 
by Secession and then forced Secession on the South, we 
would have freed the slaves before this without a war, 
from the very necessities of the progress of the material 
world, to say nothing of its moral progress. We fought 
for the rights we held under the old constitution, made 
by a slave-holding aristocracy. But we collided with 
the resistless movement of humanity from the idea of 
local sovereignty toward nationalism, centralisation, 
solidarity." 

"That's why I say," interrupted the Deacon, "your 
Negro question has already been settled. The nation has 
become a reality, not a name." 

"And that is why I know, Deacon," insisted the 



3 $6 The Leopard's Spots 

Preacher, "that we have not only not settled this ques- 
tion — we haven't even faced the issues. Nationality 
demands solidarity. And you can never get solidarity 
in a nation of equal rights out of two hostile races that 
do not intermarry. In a Democracy you cannot build 
a nation inside of a nation of two antagonistic races ; and 
therefore tlie future American must be either an Anglo- 
Saxon or a Mulatto. And if a Mulatto, will the future 
be worth discussing? " 

"I never thought of it in just that way," answered 
the Deacon. 

"It is my work to maintain the racial absolutism cf 
the Anglo-Saxon in the South, politically, socially, 
economically." 

"But can it be done? I see many evidences of 
a mixture of blood already," said the Deacon, 
seriously. 

"Yes, we are doing it. This mixture you observe has 
no social significance, for a simple reason. It is all the 
result of the surviving polygamous and lawless instincts 
of the white male. Unless by the gradual encroachments 
of time, culture, wealth and political exigencies the time 
comes when a negro shall be allowed freely to choose a 
white woman for his wife, the racial integrity remains 
intact. The right to choose one's mate is the foundation 
of racial life and of civilisation. The South must guard 
with naming sword every avenue of approach to this holy 
of holies. And there are many subtle forces at work to 
obscure these possible approaches." 

"Well, no matter," broke in the Deacon; "come with 
us and you will have more power to touch with your 
ideas the wealth and virtue of the whole nation." 

The Preacher was silent a moment and seemed to be 
musing in a sort of half dream. The Deacon looked at 
him with a growing sense of the hopelessness of his task 



Why the Preacher Threw His Life Away 337 

but of surprise at this revelation of the secrets of his 
inner life. 

"The South has been voiceless in these later years," 
he went on; "her voice has been drowned in a din of 
cat-calls from an army of cheap scribblers and dema- 
gogues. But when these children we are rearing down 
here grow, rocked in the cradles of poverty, nurtured 
in the fierce struggle to save the life of a mighty race, 
they will find speech, and their songs will fill the world 
with pathos and power. 

"I've studied your great cities. Believe me, the South 
is worth saving. Against the possible day when a flood 
of foreign anarchy threatens the foundations of the 
Republic and men shall laugh at the faiths of your 
fathers, and undigested wealth beyond the dreams of 
avarice rots your society, until it mocks at honour, 
love and God — against that day we will preserve 
the South!" 

The Preacher's voice was now vibrating with deep 
feeling, and the Deacon listened with breathless interest. 

"Believe me, Deacon, the ark of the covenant of Ameri- 
can ideals rests to-day on the Appalachian Mountain 
range of the South. When your metropolitan mobs 
shall knock at the doors of your life and demand the 
reason of your existence, from these poverty-stricken 
homes, with their old-fashioned, perhaps medieval 
ideas, will come forth the fierce athletic sons and sweet- 
voiced daughters in whom the nation will find a new 
birth." The Preacher's eyes had filled with tears and 
his voice dropped into a low, dreamlike prophecy. 

"You cannot understand," he resumed, in a clear 
voice, "why I feel so profoundly depressed just now be- 
cause the Republican party, which with you stands for 
the virtue, wealth and intelligence of the community, is 
now in charge of this state. I will tell you why. A 



338 The Leopard's Spots 

Republican administration in North Carolina simply 
means a Negro oligarchy. The state is now being 
debauched and degraded by this fact in the innermost 
depths of its character and life. My place is here in 
this fight." 

"But, Doctor, will not your industrial training of the 
Negro gradually minimise any danger to your society ? ' ' 

"No ; it will gradually increase it. Industrial training 
gives power. If the Negro ever becomes a serious com- 
petitor of the white labourer in the industries of the 
South, the white man will kill him, just as your Labour- 
Unions do in the North now where the conditions of life 
are hard and men fight with tooth and nail for bread. 
If you train the Negroes to be scientific farmers they 
will become a race of aristocrats, and when five genera- 
tions removed from the memory of slavery a war of races 
will be inevitable, unless the Anglo-Saxon grant this 
trained and wealthy African equal social rights. The 
Anglo-Saxon cannot do this without suicide. One drop 
of Negro blood makes a Negro." 

"I can't tell you how sorry I am, Doctor, that I can't 
persuade you to become our pastor. But I can under- 
stand since this talk something of the larger views of 
your duty." 

The Deacon sought Mrs. Durham that evening and laid 
siege to her resolutely. 

"Ah ! Deacon, you're shrewd — you are going to flatter 
me, but I can't let you. I'm an old fogy and out of date. 
I'm not orthodox on the Negro from Boston's point 
of view." 

"Nonsense! " growled the Deacon. "We don't care 
what you or the Doctor either thinks about the Negro 
or the Jap or the Chinaman. We want a preacher 
imbued with the power of the Holy Ghost to preach 
the Gospel of Christ." 



Why the Preacher Threw His Life Away 339 

"Well, you have quite captured me since you have 
been here. You are a revelation to me of what a deacon 
might be to a pastor and his wife. To be frank with you, 
I am on your side. I am tired of the Negro. I don't 
want to solve him. He is an impossible job from my 
point of view. I should be delighted to go to Boston now 
and begin life over again. But I do not figure in the 
decision. Doctor Durham settles such questions for 
himself. And I respect him more for it." 

Encouraged by this decision of his wife, the Deacon 
renewed his efforts to change the Preacher's mind next 
day, but in vain. He stayed over Sunday, heard him 
preach two sermons, and sorrowfully bade him good-by 
on Monday. He carried back to Boston his final word 
declining this call. 

As the Deacon stepped on the train, he warmly pressed 
his hand and said : " God bless you, Doctor. If you ever 
need a friend, you know my name and address." 



CHAPTER XXII 
THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT 

GASTON tried to wait in patience another week 
for a word from the woman he loved, and when 
the last mail came and brought no letter for 
him he found himself face to face with the deepest soul 
crisis of his life. 

After all, thoughts are things. The report of her 
social frivolities at first made little impression on him. 
But the thought had fallen in his heart and it was 
growing a poisoned weed. 

It is possible to kill the human body with an idea. The 
fairest day the spring ever sent can be blackened and 
turned from sunshine into storm by the flitting of a little 
cloua of thought no bigger than a man's hand. 

So Gaston found this thought of dancing and flirting 
in gay society by the woman whom he had enthroned 
in the holy of holies of his soul to be destroying his 
strength of character and like a deadly cancer eating 
his heart out. 

He sat down by his window that night, unable to 
work, and tried to reconcile such a life with his ideal. 

"Why should I be so provincial! ,T he mused. "The 
thing only shocks me because I am unused to it. She 
has grown up in this atmosphere. To her it is a harm- 
less pastime." 

Then he took out of his desk her picture, lit his 
lamp and looked long and tenderly at it, until his soul 
was drunk again with the memory of her beauty, the 

340 



The Flesh and the Spirit 341 

warm touch of her hand and the thrill of her full soft 
lips in the only two kisses he had ever received from the 
heart of a woman. 

Then the vision of a ballroom came to torture him. 
He could see her dressed in that delicate creation of 
French genius he had seen her wear the memorable night 
at the Springs. The French know so deeply the subtle 
art of draping a woman's body to tempt the soul of men. 
How he cursed them to-night ! He could see her bare 
arms, white, gleaming shoulders, neck, and back, and 
round full bosom softly rising and falling with her 
breathing, as she swept through a brilliant ballroom to 
the strains of entrancing music. 

He knew the dance was a social convention, of course. 
But its deep Nature significance he knew also. He knew 
that it was as old as human society, and full of a thou- 
sand subtle suggestions — that it was the actual touch of 
the human body, with rhythmic movement, set to the 
passionate music of love. This music spoke in quivering 
melody what the lips did not dare to say. This he knew 
was the deep secret of the fascination of the dance for 
the bov and the girl, the man and the woman. 

His imagination leaped the centuries that separate us 
from the great races of the past who scorned humbug 
and hypocrisy, and held their dances in the deep shadows 
of great forests, without the draperies of tailors. These 
men and women looked Nature in the face and were not 
afraid, and did not try to apologise or lie about it. He 
felt humiliated and betrayed. 

He thought, too, of her wealth with a feeling of resent- 
ment and isolation. Taken with this social nightmare it 
seemed to raise an impassable barrier between them. He 
knew that in the terrible quarrel she had with her father 
on their first clash he had sworn if she disobeyed him 
to disinherit her. She had answered him in bitter 



34 2 The Leopard's Spots 

defiance. And yet time often changes these noble 
visions of poverty and strenuous faith in high ideals. 
Wealth and all its good things becomes with us at last 
habit. And habit is life. 

Could it be possible she had weakened in resolution of 
loyalty when brought face to face with the actual break- 
ing of the habits of a lifetime? Might not the three 
forces combined: the habit of social conventions, the 
habit of luxury and the habit of obedience to a master- 
ful and lovable father, be sufficient to crush her love at 
last ? It seemed to him to-night not only a possibility 
but almost an accomplished fact. 

At one o'clock he went to bed and tried to sleep. He 
tossed for an hour. His brain was on fire and his 
imagination lit with its glare. He could sweep the 
world with his vision in the silence and the darkness 
— yes, the world that is, and that which was, and is 
to come. 

He arose and dressed. It was half past two o'clock. 
He knew that this was to be the first night in all his life 
when he could not sleep. He was shocked and sobered 
by the tremendous import of such an event m the 
development of his character. He had never been rwept 
off his feet before. He knew now that before the sun 
rose he would fight with the powers and princes of the 
air for the mastery of life. 

He left his room and walked out on the road to the 
Springs over which he had gone so many times in child- 
hood. The moon was obscured by fleeting clouds and 
the air had the sharp touch of autumn in its breath. He 
walked slowly past the darkened, silent houses and felt 
his brain begin to cool in the sweet air. 

The last note he had received from her, weeks ago, 
was the brief one announcing the new break in the poor 
little correspondence she had promised him. The last 



The Flesh and the Spirit 343 

paragraph of that note now took on a sinister meaning. 
He recalled it word by word: 

11 1 feel like I cannot trifle with you in this way again. 
It is humiliating to me and to you. I can see no light 
in our future. I release you from any tie I may have im- 
posed on your life. I feel I have fallen short of what you 
deserve, but I am so situated between my mother's fail- 
ing health and my father's will, and my love for them 
both, I cannot help it. I will love you always, but you 
are free." 

Was not this a kindly and final breaking of their 
pledge to one another? Yet she had not returned the 
little medal he had given her with that exchange of 
eternal love and faith. Could she keep this and really 
mean to break with him finally ? He could not believe it. 

His whole life had been dominated by this dream of an 
ideal love. For it he had denied himself the indulgences 
that his college mates and young associates had taken as 
a matter of course. He had never touched wine. He 
had never smoked. He had never learned the difference 
between a queen and a jack in cards. He had kept away 
from women. He had given his body and soul to the 
service of his Ideal, and bent every energy to the develop- 
ment of his mind that he might grasp with more power 
its sweetness and beauty when realised. 

Did it pay? The Flesh was shrieking this question 
now into the face of the Spirit. 

He had met the One Woman his soul had desired above 
all others. There could be no mistake about that. 
And now she was failing him when he had laid at her feet 
his life. It made him sick to recall how utter had been 
his surrender. 

Why should he longer deny the flesh, when the soul's 
dream failed the test of pain and struggle ? 

V T as it possible that he had been a fool and was 



344 The Leopard's Spots 

missing the full expression of life, which is both 
flesh and spirit? 

The world was full of sweet odours. He had delicate 
and powerful nostrils. Why not enjoy them ? The world 
was full of beauty ravishing to the eye. He had keen 
eyes trained to see. Why should he not open his eyes 
and gaze on it all? The world was full of entrancing 
music. He had ears trained to hear. Why should he 
stuff them with dreams of a doubtful future and not 
hear it all ? The world was full of things soft and good 
to the touch. Why should he not grasp them? His 
hands were cunning, and every finger tingled with 
sensitive nerve tips. The world was full of good things 
sweet to the taste. Why should he not eat and drink 
as others, as old and wise perhaps? 

Was a man full-grown until he had seen, felt, smelled, 
tasted and heard all life? Was there anything, after 
all in good or bad ? Were these things not names f If 
not, how could we know unless we tried them? What 
was the good of good things? 

"Am I not a narrow-minded fool, instead of a wise 
man, to throttle my impulses and deny the flesh for an 
imaginary gain? " he asked himself aloud. 

She had written he was free. 

"Well, by the eternal, I will be free! " he exclaimed. 
"I will sweep the whole gamut of human passion and 
human emotion. I will drink life to the deepest dregs of 
its red wine. I will taste, feel, see, touch, hear all. I will 
not be cheated. I will know for myself what it is to live. " 

When he woke to the consciousness of time and place 
he found he was seated at the Sulphur Spring where it 
gushed from the foot of the hill, and that the eastern 
horizon was gray with the dawn. 

A sense of new-found power welled up in him. He 
had regained control of himself. 



The Flesh and the Spirit 345 

"Good. I will no longer be a moping lovesick fool. 
I am a man. To will is to live; to cease to will is to die.. 
I have regained my will — I live ! ' ' 

He walked rapidly back to town with vigorous step, 
His mind was clear. 

" I will never write her another line until she writes to 
me. I will not be a dog and whine at any rich man's door 
or any woman's feet. The world is large, and I am large. 
I will be sought as well as seek. Besides, my country 
needs me. If I am to give myself up it will be for larger 
ends than for the smiles of one woman." 

And then for two weeks he entered deliberately on a 
series of dissipations. He left Hambright and sought 
convivial friends on the seacoast. He amazed them 
by asking to be taught cards. 

He swept the gamut of all the senses without reserve r 
day after day and night after night. 

At the end of two weeks he found himself haunt- 
ing the post-office oftener, with a vague sense of 
impending calamity. 

"The thing's all over, I tell you ! " he said to himself 
again and again. And then he would hurry to the next 
mail as eagerly as ever. As the excitement began to 
tire him, the sense of longing for her face and voice and 
the touch of her hand became intolerable. 

"My God, I'd give all the world holds of sin to see her 
and hear one word from her lips ! " he exclaimed, as he 
locked himself in his room one night. 

"Why didn't she answer my last letter? " he con- 
tinued. "Ah, that was the best letter I ever wrote 
her ! I put my soul in every word. I didn't believe 
the woman lived who could read such confessions and 
such worship without reply. Surely she has a heart ! " 

When he went to the post-office the next day he got a 
letter forwarded from Hambright by the Preacher. It 



346 The Leopard's Spots 

was postmarked Narragansett Pier, and addressed in a 
bold masculine hand he had never seen before. 

He tore it open, and inside found his last letter to 
Sallie Worth, returned with the seal unbroken. He 
sprang to his feet with flashing eyes, trembling from 
head to foot. 

"Ah, they did not dare to let her receive another of 
my letters ! So a clerk returns it unopened," he cried. 
"And a great lump rose in his throat as he thought of 
the scenes of the past two weeks. The old fever and the 
old longing came rushing over his prostrate soul now in 
resistless torrents: "How dare a strange hand touch 
a message to her! I could strangle him. We will see 
now who wins the fight." He set his lips with deter- 
mination, packed his valise, and took the train for 
home without a word of farewell to the companions 
of his revels. 

When he reached Hambright he felt sure of a letter 
from her. A strange joy filled his heart. 

"I have either got a letter or she's writing one to me 
this minute ! " he exclaimed. 

He went to the post-office in a state of exhilaration. 
The letter was not there. But it did not depress him. 

"It is on the way," he quickly said. 

For two days he remained in that condition of tense, 
nervous excitement and expectation, and on the follow- 
ing day he opened his box and found his letter. 

"I knew it ! " he said, with a thrill of joy that was 
half awe at the remarkable confirmation he had received 
of their sympathy. 

He hurried to his office and read the big, precious 
message. 

How its words burned into his soul ! Every line 
seemed alive with her spirit. How beautiful the sight 
of her handwriting ! He kissed it again and again. He 



The Flesh and the Spirit 347 

read with bated breath. The address was doubly- 
expressive, because it contained the first words of 
abandoned tenderness with which she had ever written 
to him, except in the concealed message dotted in the 
note that broke their early correspondence. 

"My Darling: I have gone through deep waters 
within the last three weeks. I became so depressed and 
hungry to see you I felt some awful calamity was hang- 
ing over you and over me, and that it was my fault. I 
could scarcely eat or sleep. 

"I felt I should go mad if I did not speak, and so I 
told Mamma. She sympathised tenderly with me, but 
insisted I should not write. She is so feeble I could 
not cross her. Ah, the agony of it ! Sometimes I 
saw you drowning and stretching out your hands to 
me for help. 

11 Sometimes in my dreams I saw you fighting against 
overwhelming odds with strong, brutal men, whose faces 
were full of hate, and I could not reach you. 

"I was nervous and unstrung, but you can never know 
how real the horror of it all was upon me. 

"I made up my mind one night to telegraph you. I 
heard some one talking inside Mamma's room. I gently 
opened the door between our rooms, and she was pray- 
ing aloud for me. I stood spellbound. I never knew 
how she loved me before. When at last she prayed 
that in the end I might have the desire o r my heart, and 
my life be crowned with the joy of a noble man's love, 
and that it might be yours, and that she should be 
permitted to see and rejoice with me, I could endure 
it no longer. 

" Choking with sobs, I ran to her kneeling figure, threw 
my arms around her neck and covered her dear face with 
kisses. 



34-3 The Leopard's Spots 

"I could not send the message I had written after that 
scene. 

"The next day Papa came, and she told him in my 
presence: 'Now, General, I have carried out your wishes 
with Sallie against my judgment. The strain has been 
more than you can understand. I give up the task. 
You can manage her now to suit yourself.' 

"There was a firmness in her voice I had never heard 
before. He noted it, and was startled into silence by it. 
He had a long talk with me and repeated his orders with 
increasing emphasis. 

"The next day I was unusually depressed. I did not 
get out of bed all day. At night I went down to supper. 
The clerk at the desk of the hotel called me and said: 
'Miss Worth, I have a terrible sin to confess to you. 
I'm a lover myself, and I've done you a wrong. I 
returned to a young man yesterday a letter to you 
by request of the General. Forgive me for it, and 
don't tell him I told you.' 

"That night Papa and I had a fearful scene. I will not 
attempt to describe it. But the end was, I said to him 
with all the courage of despair : ' I am twenty-one . years 
old. I am a free woman. I will write to whom I please 
and when I please and I will not ask you again. It is 
your right to turn me out of your house, but you shall 
not murder my soul.' 

"Then for the first time in his life Papa broke down 
and sobbed HV" a child. We kissed and made up, and I 
am to write to you when I like. 

"Forgive my long silence. Write and tell me you love 
me. My heart is sick with the thought that I have been 
cowardly and failed you. Write me a long letter, and 
you cannot say things extravagant enough for my 
hungry heart. 

"I feel utterly helpess when I think how completely 



The Flesh and the Spirit 349 

you have come to rule my life. I wish you to rule it. 
It is all yours " 

And then she said many foolish things that only 
the eyes of one lover should ever see, for only to him 
could they have meaning. 

When he finished reading this letter and had devoured 
with eagerness these foolish extravagances with which 
she closed it he buried his face in his arms across his 
desk. 

A big, strong, boastful man whose will had defied 
che world— now he was crying like a whipped child. 



THE TRIAL BY FIRE 



HSooh Gbree-Gbe Grial b? fire 

CHAPTER I 
A GROWL BENEATH THE EARTH 

APPARENTLY McLeod's triumph was complete 
and permanent. The farmers were disap- 
pointed in their wild hopes of a sub-treasury 
and other socialistic schemes, but the passions of the 
campaign had been violent, and the offices they had 
won with their Negro ally had been soothing to their 
sense of pride. 

A Republican farmer was Governor for a term of four 
years ; they had elected two Senators and three Supreme 
Court judges, and they had completely smashed the 
power of the Democratic party in the county govern- 
ments. Everywhere they were triumphant in the local 
elections, filling almost every county office with heavy- 
handed sons of toil from the country districts, and 
making the town fops who had been drawing these fat 
salaries get out and work for a living. 

Even McLeod was amazed at the thoroughness with 
which they cleaned the state of every vestige of the 
invincible Democracy that had ruled with a rod of iron 
since Legree's flight. 

Gaston could see but one weak spot in the alliance. 
The Negroes had demanded their share of the spoils and 
were gradually forcing their reluctant allies to grant 
them. He watched the progress of this movement with 
thrilling interest. The Negroes had demanded the 
repeal of the county government plan of the Democracy, 

353 



354 The Leopard's Spots 

under which the credit of the forty black counties had 
been rescued from bankruptcy at the expense of local 
self-government. 

When the lawmakers who succeeded Legree had put 
this scheme of centralised power in force, these forty 
counties were immediately lifted from ruin to prosperity. 
But no Negro ever held another office in them. 

Now the Negroes demanded the return to the princi- 
ples of pure Democracy and the right to elect all town, 
township and county officers direct. They got their 
demands. They took charge in short order of the great, 
rich counties in the Black Belt, and white men ceased 
to hold the offices. 

A Negro college-graduate from Miss Walker's classical 
institution had started a newspaper, at Independence, 
noted for its open demands for the recognition of the 
economic, social and political equality of the races. 
Young Negro men and women walking the streets now 
refused to give half the sidewalk to a white man cr 
woman when they met, and there were an increasing 
number of fights from such causes. 

Gaston noted these signs with a growing sense of their 
import and began his work for the second great cam- 
paign. The election for a Legislature alone he knew 
was lost already. His party had simply abandoned the 
fight. The allied party had passed new election laws, 
and under the tutelage of the doubtful methods of the 
past they had taken every partisan advantage possible 
within the limits of the Constitution. They could not 
be overthrown short of a political earthquake, and he 
knew it, But he thought he heard in the depths of the 
earth the low rumble of its coming, and he began to 
prepare for it. 



CHAPTER II 
FACE TO FACE WITH FATE 

THREE weeks before Christmas Gaston began to 
dream of the visit he was to make to Independ- 
ence to see Sallie Worth. How long it seemed 
since she had kissed him in the twilight of that Pullman 
car and the Limited had rolled away, bearing her farther 
and farther from his life ! He would sit now for an 
hour reading her last letter, looking at her picture on 
his desk and dreaming of what she would say when 
he sat by her side again in her own home. 

And then like a thunderbolt out of a clear sky came 
a tearful letter announcing another storm at home. Her 
father had again forbidden her to write. She said, at 
the last, that Gaston's visit must be postponed indefi- 
nitely for the present. He gazed at the letter with a 
hardened look. 

"I will go. I'll face General Worth in his owe home 
and demand his reasons for such treatment. I am a 
man. I am entitled to the respect of a man." He 
made this declaration with a quiet force that left no 
doubt about his doing it. 

He wrote Sallie that he could not and would not 
endure such a fight in the dark with the General, and 
that he was going to Independence on the day before 
Christmas as she had planned at first, to have it out 
with him face to face. 

She wrote in reply and begged him under no circum- 

35? 



356 The Leopard's Spots 

stances to come until conditions were more favourable. 
He got this letter the day before he was to start. 

"I'll go and I'll see him if I have to fight my way into 
his house; that's all there is to it!" he exclaimed. 

When he reached Independence, St. Clare met him 
at the depot and gave him an eager welcome. 

"I've been expecting you, you hard-headed fool!" 
he said, impulsively. 

"Well, your words are not equal to your handshake. 
What's the matter?" asked Gaston. 

"You know what's the matter. Miss Sallie has been 
to see me this afternoon and begged me to chain you 
at my house if you came to town to-day." 

"Well, you'll need handcuffs, and help to get them 
on," replied Gaston, with quiet decision. 

"Look here, old boy, you're not going down to that 
house to-night with the old man threatening to kill 
you on sight, and your girl bordering on collapse?" 

"I am. I've been bordering on collapse for some 
time myself. I'm getting used to it." 

"You're a fool." 

"Granted; but I'll risk it." 

"But, man, I tell you Miss Sallie will be furious with 
you if you go after all the messages she has sent you." 

"I'll risk her fury, too." 

"Gaston, let me beg you not to do it." 

"I'm going, Bob. It isn't any use for you t« waste 
your breath." 

"You know where my heart is, old chum," said Bob, 
yielding reluctantly. " I couldn't go down to that house 
to-night under the conditions you are going for the 
world." 

"Why not? It's the manly thing to do." 

"It's a dangerous thing to do. Fathers have killed 
men under such conditions." 



Face to Face with Fate 357 

"Well, I'll risk it. I'm going as soon as I can brush 
up a little." 

Bob walked with him to the outskirts of the city, 
begging in vain that he should turn back, but he never 
slacked his pace. 

When he turned to go home Bob pressed his hand 
and said, "Good luck! And may your shadow never 
grow less." 

Gaston walked rapidly on toward Oakwood. As he 
passed through the shadows of the forest near the gate 
a flood of tender memories rushed over him. He was 
back again by her side on that morning he met her, with 
the first flush of love thrilling his life. He could see 
her looking earnestly at him as though trying to solve 
a riddle. He could hear her laughter full of joy and 
happiness. As he turned into the gateway the house 
flashed on him its gleaming windows from the hilltop. 
He felt his heart sink with bitterness as he realised the 
contrast of his last entrance into that house, its welcomed 
guest, and his present unbidden intrusion. Once those 
lights had gleamed only a message of peace and love. 
Now th y seemed signals of war some enemy had set 
on the hill to warn of his approach. 

He paused a moment and wiped the perspiration from 
his brow. It was Christmas Ev2, but the air was balmy 
and springlike and his rapid wa.k had tired him. He 
had eaten nothing all day, had slept only a few hours the 
night before, and the nerve strain had been more than 
he knew. 

He looked up at the great white pillars softly shining 
in the starlight, and a sickening fear of a possible 
tragedy behind those doors crept over him. 

"My God!" he exclaimed, "I had rather charge a 
breastworks in the face of flashing guns than go into 
that house to-night and meet one man I" 



358 The Leopard's Spots 

He recognised the breach of the finer amenities of life 
involved in forcing his way into a house under such 
conditions, and it humiliated him for a moment. 

"We will not stickle for forms now," he said to him- 
self, firmly. ' ' This is war. I am to uncover the batteries 
of my enemy. I have hesitated long enough. I will not 
fight in the dark another day/' 

As he stepped briskly up to the door he started at a 
sudden thought. What if the General had ordered the 
servants to slam the door in his face ? The possibility 
of such an unforeseen insult made the cold sweat break 
out over his face as he rang the bell. No matter; he 
was in for it now — he would face hell if need be. 

He waited but an instant, and heard the heavy tread 
of a man approach the door. Instinctively he knew 
that the General himself was on guard and would open 
the door. Evidently he had expected him. 

The door opened about two feet and the General 
glared at him livid with rage, He held one hand on 
the door and the other on its facing, and his towering 
figure filled the space. 

"Good-evening, General !" said Gaston, with embar- 
rassment. 

"What do you want, sir?" he growled. 

"I wish to see you for a few minutes." 

"Well, I don't want to see you." 

"Whether you wish to or not, you must do it sooner 
or later," answered Gaston, with dignity. 

"Indeed! Your insolence is sublime, I fiaust 
say." 

"The sooner you and I have a plain talk the better for 
both of us. It can't be put off any longer," Gaston 
continued, with self-control. He was looking the General 
straight in the eyes now, with head and broad shoulders 
erect, and his square-cut jaws were snapping his words 



Face to Face with Fate 359 

with a clean emphasis that was not lost on the older 
master of men before him. 

"Call at my office in the morning at ten o'clock," he 
said, at length. 

"I will not do it. I am going home on the nine o'clock 
train. To-morrow is Christmas Day. The issue between 
us is of life import to me, and it may be of equal impor- 
tance to you. I will not put it off another hour." 

The General glared at him. His hands began to 
tremble, and, raising his voice, he thundered: 

1 ' I am not accustomed to take orders from young 
upstarts. How dare you attempt to force yourself 
into my house when you were told again and again not 
to attempt it, sir?" 

1 ' Your former welcome to me on three occasions when 
the object of my visits was as well known to you as 
to me, gives me, at least, the vested rights of a final 
interview. I demand it," retorted Gaston, curtly. 

"And I refuse it." Still there was a note of inde<» 
cision in his voice which Gaston was quick to catch. 

"General," he protested, "you are a soldier and a 
gentleman. You never fought an enemy with uncivilised 
warfare. Yet you have allowed some one under your 
protection to stab me in the dark for the past year. I 
am entitled to know why I fight and against whom. 
I ask your sense of fairness as a soldier if I am not 
right?" 

The General hesitated, and finally said, as he opened 
the door: 

"Walk into the parlour." 

When they were seated, Gaston plunged immediately 
into the question he had at heart. 

"Now, General, I wish to ask you plainly why you 
have treated me as you have since I asked you for your 
daughter's hand?" 



360 The Leopard's Spots 

"The less said about it the better. I have good and 
sufficient reasons, and that settles it." 

"But I have the right to know them." 

"What right?" 

"The right of every man to face his accuser when on 
trial for his life." 

"Men don't die nowadays for love, or women either," 
the General growled. 

"Besides," continued Gaston, "you are under the 
deepest obligations to tell me fairly your reasons." 

"Obligations?" 

"The obligations of the commonest justice between 
man and man. You invited me to your home. I was 
your welcome guest. You encouraged my suit for your 
daughter's hand." 

"How dare you say such a thing, sir?" 

"Because she told me you did. I was led to believe 
that you not only looked with favour on my suit but 
that you were pleased with it. I asked for your daughter. 
You insulted my manhood by refusing me permission 
even to seek an interview, and know the reasons for your 
change of views. Since then you have treated me with 
plain brutality. Now something caused this change." 

"Certainly something caused it, something of tremen- 
dous importance," said the General. 

"I am entitled to know what it is." 

"Simply this. I received information concerning 
you, your habits, your associates, your character and 
your family that caused me to change my mind." 

"Did you inquire as to their truth?" 

" It was unnecessary. I love my daughter beyond all 
other treasures I possess. With her future I will take 
no risks." 

"I have a right to know the charges, General," 
insisted Gaston. "I demand it." 



Face to Face with Fate 361 

"Well, sir, if you demand it, you will get it. I 
learned that you are a man of the most dissolute habits 
and character, that you are a hard drinker, a gambler,, 
a rake and a spendthrift, and that your family history 
is a deplorable one." 

"My family history a deplorable one!" cried Gaston^ 
springing to his feet, with trembling, clenched fists and 
scarlet face, on which the blue veins suddenly stood out. 

"I begged you to spare me and yourself the pain of 
this," replied the General, in a softer voice. 

V No, I do not ask to be spared. Give me the particu- 
lars. What is the stain on my family name?" 

"Not a moral one, but in some respects more hopeless, 
a physical one. I have positive information that your 
people on one side are what is known in the South as 
poor white trash " 

Gaston smiled. "I thank you, General, for your 
frankness. The only wrong of which I complain is 
your withholding the name of the liar." 

"There is no use of a fight over such things. I do 
not wish my daughter's name to be smirched with it." 

"Her name is as dear to me as it can possibly be to 
you. Never fear. You are her father; I honour you as 
such. I thank you for the information. I scorn to 
stoop to answer. The humour of it forbids an answer it 
I could stoop to make one. Now, General, I make you 
this proposition. I am not in a hurry. I will patiently 
wait any time you see fit to set for any developments in 
my life and character about which you have doubts. 
All I ask is the privilege of writing to the woman I love. 
Is this not reasonable?" 

"No, sir," declared the General; "I will not have it„ 
You are not in a position to make me a proposition of 
any sort. I have settled this affair. It is not open fo* 
discussion." 



362 The Leopard's Spots 

u You mean to say that I have no standing whatever 
in the case?" asked Gaston with a smile, rubbing his 
hand over his smooth-shaved lips and chin. 

"Exactly. I've settled it. There's nothing more to 
be sa^'d." 

"I'll never give her up. She is the one woman God 
made for me, and you will have to put me under the 
ground before you have settled my end of it," said 
Gaston, still smiling. 

The old man's face clouded for a moment; he wrinkled 
his brow, drew his bushy eyebrows closer, and then 
turned toward Gaston in a persuasive way. 

"Look here, Gaston, don't be a fool. It's amusing to 
me to hear a youngster talk such drivel. Love is not a 
fatal disease for a man or a woman. You will find that 
out later if you don't know it now. I loved a half-dozen 
girls, and when I got ready to marry I asked the one 
handiest and that seemed most suited to my temper. 
We married and have lived as happily as the romancers. 
The world is full of pretty girls. Go on about your 
business and quit bothering me and mine." 

"There's only one girl for me, General." 

"That's proof positive to my mind that you are a little 
cracked," he answered, with a smile. 

Gaston laughed and shook his head. "I'll never give 
her up in this world, or the next," he doggedly added. 

Again the General frowned. "Look here, young 
man, did it ever occur to you that your pursuit might 
be held the work of a low adventurer ? My daughter is an 
heiress. You haven't a dollar. Don't you know that 
I will disinherit her if she marries without my consent ? " 

"You can't frighten me on that tack," answered 
Gaston, firmly. "No dollar mark has yet been placed 
on the doors of Southern society. Manhood, character 
and achievement are the keys that unlock it. You know 



Face to Face with Fate 363 

that, and I know it. I was poorer and more obscure the 
day you first invited me here than to-day. And yet you 
gave me as hearty a welcome as her richest suitor. All 
I ask is time to prove to you in my life my manhood and 
worth — one year, two years, five years, ten years, any 
time you see fit to name." 

M No, sir," firmly snapped the General; "not a day. 1 
don't like long engagements. Yours is ended, once and 
for all time. I have settled that." 

"Can even a father decide the destiny of two immortal 
souls offhand like that?" 

"Now you are assuming too much. I am not 
speaking for myself alone. I have laid all the facts 
carefully before Sallie and she has agreed to the wisdom 
of my decision and asked me to represent her in what 
I say this evening." 

Gaston turned pale, his lips quivered, and, turning to 
the General suddenly, he said: 

"That is the only important fact you have laid before 
me. Just let her come here, stand by your side and 
say that with her own lips, and I will never cross your 
path in life again." 

The General hung his head and stammered: "No; it 
is not necessary. It will embarrass and humiliate her. 
I will not permit it." 

"Then I deny ycur credentials!" exclaimed Gaston. 

The General seemed embarrassed by the failure of 
this fatherly subterfuge, and Gastor could not help 
smiling at the revelation of his weakness. He decided 
to press his advantage and try to see her if only for a 
moment. 

"General," protested Gaston, persuasively, "I appeal 
to your sense of courtesy, even to an enemy. After all 
that has passed between us in this house, is it fair or 
courteous to show me that door without one word of 



364 The Leopard's Spots 

farewell to the woman to whom I have given my life? 
Or is it wise from your point of view? " 

Again the General hesitated. He was a big-hearted 
man of generous impulses, and he felt worsted in this 
interview somehow, but it was hard to deny such a 
request. He fumbled at his watch-chain, arose and 
said : 

"I will see if she desires it." 

Gaston's heart bounded with joy. If she desired it ! 
He could feel her soul enveloping him with its Ijve as 
he sat there conscious that she was so: :ewhere in that 
house praying for him. 

He fairly choked with pain and the joy of the certainty 
that in a moment he would be near her, touch her 
hand, see her glorious beauty and his ears drink the 
music of her voice. 

"Just step this way," said the General, reappearing 
at the door. 

Gaston walked into the hall and met Sallie as she 
emerged from the library door opposite. He tried to 
say something, but his throat was dry and his tongue 
paralysed with the wonder of her presence. Besides, 
the General stood grimly by like a guard over a life 
prisoner. 

He looked searchingly into her eyes as he held her 
hand for a moment and felt its warm impulsive pressure. 
Oh, the eyes of the woman we love ! What are words 
to their language of melting tenderness, of faith and 
longing? Gaston felt like shouting In the General's 
face his triumph. She tried to speak, but only pressed 
his hand again. It was enough. 

He bowed to the General, and left without a word. 



CHAPTER III 
A WHITE LIE 

THAT night as he walked back through the streets 
he was thrilled with a sense of strength and of 
triumph. He knew his ground now. There 
was to be war between him and the General to the bitter 
end. He had never asked her once to oppose her 
father's or mother's command. Now he would see who 
was master in a test of strength. And he was eager for 
the struggle. His mind was alert, and every nerve and 
muscle tense with energy. 

"Heavens, how hungry I am ! " he exclaimed, when he 
reached the brilliantly lighted business portion of the 
city. 

He went into a restaurant, ordered a steak, and 
enjoyed a good meal. He recalled then that he had not 
eaten for twenty-four hours. The steak was good, and 
the faces of the people seemed to him lit with gladness. 
He was singing a battle-song in his soul, and the eyes of 
the woman he loved looked at him with yearning 
tenderness. 

"Now, Bob, I count on you, 5 ' he cried to his friend 
next morning. "I am going to have a merry Christmas 
and you are to aid in the skirmishing." 

"I'm with you to the finish!" Bob responded, with 
enthusiasm. 

"We must make a feint this morning to deceive the 
enemy while I turn his flank. I go home on the nine 
o'clock train. You understand?" 

365 



366 The Leopard's Spots 

"Yes, over the left. It's dead easy, too. There's to 
be a big Christmas party to-night at the Alexanders'. 
She's invited, I'll see that she goes to it if I have to 
drag her." 

"Good. Don't tell her I'm in town. I want to 
surprise her." 

The General had a man at the morning train who 
reported Gaston's departure. He was surprised at 
Sallie's good spirits, but attributed it to the magnificent 
present he had given her that morning of a diamond 
ring and an exquisite pearl necklace. 

He bustled her off to the party that night and con- 
gratulated himself on the certainty of his triumph over 
an aspiring youngster who dared to set his will against 
his own. 

When the festivities had begun, and the children were 
busy with their fireworks, Sal lie strolled along the 
winding walks of the big lawn. She was chatting with 
Bob St. Clare about a young man they both knew, and 
when they reached the corner farthest from the house, 
under the shadows of a great magnolia with low, over- 
hanging boughs, she saw the figure of a man. 

She smiled into Bob's face, pressed his hand and said: 

"Now, Bob, you've done all a good friend could do. 
Go back. I don't need you." 

And Bob answered with a smile and left her. In a 
moment Gaston was by her side with both her hands in 
his kissing them tenderly. 

"Didn't I surprise you, dear?" he softly asked. 

"No. Bob denied you were here, but I knew it was 
a story. I was sure you would never leave without 
seeing me. You couldn't, could you?" 

"Not after what I saw in your eyes last night!" he 
whispered. 

"It seems a century since I've heard your voice," 



A White Lie 367 

she said, wistfully. "God alone knows what I have 
suffered, and I am growing weary of it." 

"Do you think I have been treated fairly?" he asked* 

"No, I do not." 

"Then you will write to me?" 

"Yes. I will not starve my heart any longer." And 
she pressed his hand. 

" You have made the world glorious again ! When 
will you marry me, Sallie?" he bent his face close to 
her, and for an answer she tenderly kissed him. 

They stood in silence a moment with clasped hands, 
and then she said, slowly: "You didn't want your free- 
dom, did you, dear? That's the third kiss, isn't it? I 
wonder if kissing will be always as sweet ! But you 
asked me when we can marry? I can't tell now. I 
can do nothing to shock Mamma. She seems to draw 
closer and closer to me every day. And now that I 
have determined no power shall separate us, it seems 
more and more necessary that I shall win Papa's consent. 
He loves me dearly. I feel that I must have his blessing 
on our lives. Give me time. I hope to win him." 

"And you will never let another week pass without 
writing to me?" 

"Never. Send my letters to Bob. He loves you 
better than he ever thought he loved me. He will give 
them to me on Sundays at church, and when he calls." 

For two hours the kindly mantle of the magnolia 
sheltered them while they told the old, sweet story over 
and over again. And somehow that night it seemed to 
them sweeter each time it was told. 




CHAPTER IV 

THE UNSPOKEN TERROR 

'HEN Gaston reached Hambright the following 
day and whispered to his mother the good 
news, he hastened to tell his friend, Tom 
Camp. The young man's heart warmed toward the 
white-haired old soldier in this hour of his victory. With 
sparkling eyes he told Tom of his stormy scene with 
the General, of its curious ending, and the hours he 
spent in heaven beneath the limbs of an old magnolia. 

Tom listened with rapture. "Ah, didn't I tell you 
if you hung on you'd get her by and by? So you 
bearded the General in his den, did you? I'll bet his 
eyes blazed when he seed you! He's got an awful 
temper when you rile him. You ought to a-seed him 
one day when our brigade was ordered into a charge 
where three concealed batteries was cross-firin' and men 
was fallin' like wheat under the knife. Geeminy, but 
didn't he cuss ! He wouldn't take the order fust from 
the orderly, and sent to know if the Major-General meant 
it. I tell 3 r ou us fellers that was layin' there in the grass 
listenin' to them bullets singin' thought he was the 
finest cusser that ever ripped an oath. 

"He reared and he charged and he cussed, and he 
damned that man for tryin' to butcher his men, and he 
never moved till the third order came. That was the 
night ten thousand wounded men lay on the field,, and 
me in the middle of 'em with a Minie ball in my shoulder. 
The Yankees and our men was all mixed up together, 

3 68 



The Unspoken Terror 369 

and just after dark the full moon came up through 
the trees and you could see as plain as day. I begun to 
sing the old hymn, 'There is a land of pure delight,' 
and you ought to have heard them ten thousand 
wounded men sing! 

"While we was singing the General came through 
lookin' up his men. He seed me and said: 

'"Is that you, Tom Camp?' 

"I looked up at him, and he was crying like a child, 
and he went on from man to man cryin' and cussin' the 
fool that sent us into that hell-hole. The General's a 
rough man if you rub his fur the wrong way, but his 
heart's all right. He's all gold, I tell you." 

"Well, I'm in for a tussle with hirn, Tom." 

"Shucks, man, you can beat him with one hand tied 
behind you if you've got his gal's heart. She's got his 
fire, and a gal as purty as she is can just about do what 
she pleases in this world." 

" I hope she can bring him around. I like the General. 
I'd much rather not fight him." 

" Where's Flora ? " cried Tom, looking around in alarm. 

"I saw her going toward the spring in the edge of 
the woods there a minute ago," replied Gaston. 

Tom sprang up and began to hop and jump down the 
path toward the spring with incredible rapidity. 

Flora was playing in the branch below the spring and 
Tom saw the form of a negro man passing over the 
opposite hill, going along the spring path that led in 
that direction. 

"Was you talkin' with that nigger, Flora?" asked 
Tom, holding his hand on his side and trying to recover 
his breath. 

"Yes, I said ' Howdy !' when he stopped to get a drink 
of water, and he give me a whistle," she replied, with 
a pout of her pretty lips and a frown. 



37° The Leopard's Spots 

Tom seized her by the arm and shook her. "Didn't 
I tell you to run every time you seed a nigger, unless I 
was with you I" 

" Yes, but he wasn't hurting me, and you are ! " 
she cried, bursting into tears. 

44 I've a notion to whip you good for this!" Tom 
stormed. 

"Don't, Tom; she won't do it any more, will you, 
Flora?" pleaded Gaston, taking her in his arms and 
starting to the house with her. When they reached the 
house Tom was still pale and trembling with excitement. 

"Lord, there's so many triflin' niggers loafin' round 
the country now stealing and doin' all sorts of devilment, 
I'm scared to death about that child. She don't seem 
any more afraid of 'em than she is of a cat." 

"I don't believe anybody would hurt Flora, Tom — 
she's such a little angel," said Gaston, kissing the tears 
from the child's face. 

"She is cute — ain't she ? " said Tom, with pride. " I've 
wished many a time lately I'd gone out West with them 
Yankee fellers that took such a likin' to me in the war. 
They told me that a poor white man had a chance out 
there, and that there weren't a nigger in twenty miles of 
their home. But then I lost my leg — -how could I 
go then?" 

He sat dreaming with open eyes for a moment and 
'continued, booking tenderly at Flora, "But, baby, don't 
you dare go nigh er nigger, or let one get nigh you, no 
more'n you would a rattlesnake ! " 

44 1 won't, Pappy!" she cried, with an incredulous 
smile at his warning of danger that made Tom's heart 
sick. She was all joy and laughter, full of health and 
bubbling life. She believed with a child's simple faith 
that all nature was as innocent as her own heart. 

Tom smoothed her curls and kissed her at last, and 



The Unspoken Terror 371 

she slipped her arm around his neck and squeezed it 
tight. 

"Ain't she purty and sweet now?" he exclaimed. 
"Tom, you'll spoil her yet," warned Gaston as he 
smiled and took his leave, throwing a kiss to Flora as he 
passed through the little yard gate. Tom had built 
a fence close around his house when Flora was a baby, 
to shut her in while he was at work. 

Two days later about five o'clock in the afternoon, as 
Gaston sat in his office writing a letter to his sweetheart, 
his face aglow with love and the certainty that she was 
his as he read and reread her last glowing words he was 
startled by the sudden clang of the court-house bell. At 
first he did not move, only looking up from his paper. 
Sometimes mischievous boys rang the bell and ran down 
the steps before any one could catch them. But the bell 
Continued its swift stroke, seeming to grow louder and 
•Vilder every moment. He saw a man rush across the 
square, and then the bell of the Methodist and then of 
the Baptist churches joined their clamour to the alarm. 

He snapped the lid of his desk, snatched his hat and 
ran down the steps. 

As he reached the street he heard the long, piercing 
cry of a woman's voice, high, strenuous, quivering: 

"A lost child! A lost child!" 

What a cry ! He was never so thrilled and awed by 
a human voice. In it was trembling all the anguish of 
every mother's broken heart transmitted through the 
centuries. 

At the court-house door an excited group had gathered. 
A man was standing on the steps gesticulating wildly 
and telling the crowd all he knew about it. Over the 
din he caught the name, 

"Tom Camp's Flora!" 

He breathed hard, bit his lips, and prayed instinctively Q 



$72 The Leopard's Spots 

" Lord have mercy on the poor old man ! It will kill 
him." A great fear brooded over the hearts of the 
crowd, and soon the tumult was hushed into an awed 
silence. 

In Gaston's heart that fear became a horrible cer- 
tainty from the first. Within a half-hour a thousand 
white people were in the crowd. Gaston stood among 
them, cool and masterful, organising them in search- 
ing parties, and giving to each group the signals 
to be used. 

In a moment the white race had fused into a homo- 
geneous mass of love, sympathy, hate and revenge. 
The rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, 
the banker and the blacksmith, the great and the small, 
they were all one now. The sorrow of that old one- 
legged soldier was the sorrow of all; every heart beat 
with his, and his life was their life, and his child 
their child. 

But at the end of an hour there was not a Negro 
among them ! By some subtle instinct they had 
recognised the secret feelings and fears of the crowd 
and had disappeared. Kad they been beasts of the 
field the gulf between them would not have been deeper. 

When Gaston reached Tom's house the crowd was 
divided into the groups agreed upon and a signal gun 
given to each. If the child was not dead when found 
two should be fired — if dead, but one. 

He sought Tom to be sure there was no mistake and 
that the child had not fallen asleep about the house. 
He found the old man shut up in his room kneeling in 
the middle of the floor praying. 

When Gaston laid his hand gently on his shoulder 
his lips ceased to move, and he looked at him in a dazed 
sort of way at first without speaking. 

"Oh— it's you, Charlie !" he sighed. 



The Unspoken Terror 373 

' "Yes, Tom! Tell me quick. Are you sure she is 
nowhere in the house?" 

"Sure? Sure?" he cried in a helpless stare. "Yes, 
yes, I found her bonnet at the spring. I looked every- 
where for an hour before I called the neighbours." 

"Then I'm off with the searchers. The signal is two 
guns if they find her alive. One gun if she is dead. 
You will understand." 

'* Yes, Charlie," answered the old soldier in a far-away 
tone of voice, "and don't forget to help me pray while 
you look for her." 

"I've tried already, Tom," he answered, as he pressed 
his hand and left the house. All night long the search 
continued and no signal gun was heard. Torches and 
lanterns gleamed from every field and wood, byway and 
hedge for miles in every direction. 

Through every hour of this awful night Tom Camp 
was in his room praying — his face now streaming with 
tears, now dry and white with the unspoken terror that 
could stop the beat of his heart. His white hair and 
snow-white beard were dishevelled as he unconsciously 
tore them with his trembling hands. Now he was crying 
in an agony of intensity: 

"As thy servant of old wrestled with the angel of the 
Lord through the night, so, oh God, will I lie at Thy feet 
and wrestle and pray ! I will not let Thee go until Thou 
bless me. Though I perish, let her live. I have lost all 
and praise Thee still. Lord, Thou canst not leave me 
desolate !" 

From the pain of his wound and the exhaustion of 
soul and body he fainted once with his lips still moving 
in prayer. For more than an hour he lay as one dead. 
When he revived, he looked at his clock, and it was but 
en hour till dawn. 

Again he fell on his knees, and again the broker 



374 The Leopard's Spots 

accents of his husky voice could be heard wrestling 
with God. Now he would beg and plead like a child, 
and then he would rise in the unconscious dignity of an 
immortal soul in combat with the powers of the infinite, 
and his language was in the sublime speech of the old 
Hebrew seers. 

Just before the sun rose the signal gun pealed its 
message of life, ONE ! TWO ! in rapid succession. 

Tom sprang to his feet with blazing eyes. One! 
Two! echoed the guns from another hill, and fainter 
grew its repeated call from group to group of the 
searchers. 

"There! Glory to God!" He screamed at the top 
of his voice, the last note of his triumphant shout 
breaking into sobs. "God be praised! I knew they 
would find her! She's not dead; she's alive! alive! 
Oh, my soul, lift up thy head!" 

The tramp of swift feet was heard at the door and 
Gaston told him with husky, stammering voice: 

"She's alive, Tom, but unconscious. I'll have her 
brought to the house. She was found just where your 
spring branch runs into the Flat Rock, not five hundred 
yards from here in those woods. Stay where you are. 
We will bring her in a minute." 

Gaston bounded back to the scene. 

Tom paid no attention to his orders to stay at home, 
but sprang after him, jumping and falling and scrambling 
up again as he followed. Before they knew it he was 
upon the excited, tearful group that stood in a circle 
around the child's body. 

Gaston, who was standing on the opposite side from 
Tom's approach, saw him and shouted: 

"My God, men, stop him! Don't let him see her 
yet!" 

But Tom was too quick for them. He brushed aside 



The Unspoken Terror 375 

the boy who caught at him, as though a feather, crying 
"Stand back!" 

The circle of men fell away from the body and in a 
moment Tom stood over it transfixed with horror. 

Flora lay on the ground with her clothes torn to 
shreds and stained with blood. Her beautiful yellow 
curls were matted across her forehead in a dark-red 
lump beside a wound where her skull had been crushed. 
The stone lay at her side, the crimson mark of her life 
showing on its jagged edges. 

With that stone the brute had tried to strike the 
death blow. She was lying on the edge of the hill with 
her head up the incline. It was too plain, the terrible 
crime that had been committed. 

The poor father sank beside her body with an inarticu- 
late groan as though some one had crushed his head 
with an axe. He seemed dazed for a moment, and, 
looking around, he shouted hoarsely: 

"The doctor, boys! The doctor, quick! For God's 
sake, quick ! She's not dead yet — we may save her ! 
Help ! Help i" he sank again to the ground, limp and 
faint from pain, and was soon insensible. 

Gaston gathered the child tenderly in his arms and 
carried her to the house. The men hastily made a 
stretcher and carried Tom behind him. 




CHAPTER V 

A THOUSAND-LEGGED BEAST 

'HILE Gaston and the men were carrying Flora 
and Tom to the house, another searching 
party was formed. There were no women 
and children among them, only grim-visaged, silent men 
and a pair of little mild -eyed, sharp-nosed bloodhounds. 
All the morning men were coming in from the country 
and joining this silent army of searchers. 

Doctor Graham came, looked long and gravely at 
Flora and turned a sad face toward Tom. 

The old soldier grasped his arm before he spoke. 

*'Now, Doctor, wait — don't say a word yet. I don't 
want to know the truth, if it's the worst. Don't kill 
me in a minute. Let me live as long as there's breath 
in her body — after that — well, that's the end — there's 
no thin' after that!" 

The Doctor started to speak. 

"Wait," pleaded Tom, "let me tell you something. 
I've been praying all night. I've seen God face to face. 
She can't die. He told me so " 

He paused, and his grip on the Doctor's arm relaxed 
as though he were about to faint, but he rallied. 

The kindly old Doctor said gently, "Sit down, Tom." 

He tried to lead Tom away from the bed, but he held 
©n like a bulldog. 

The child breathed heavily and moaned. 

Tom's face brightened. "She's comin' to, Doctor — 
thank God!" 

376 



A Thousand-Legged Beast 377 - 

The Doctor paid no more attention to him and went 
on with his work as best he could. 

Tom laid his tear-stained face close to hers, and 
murmured soothingly to her as he used to when she 
was a wee baby in his arms : 

"There, there, honey, it will be all right now! The 
Doctor's here, and he'll do all he can. And what he 
can't do, God will. The Doctor'll save you. God will 
save you. He loves you. He loves me. I prayed all 
night. He heard me. I saw the shinin' glory of His 
face. He's only tryin' His poor, old servant." 

The broken artery was found and tied and the bleeding 
stopped. When the wound in her head was dressed 
the Doctor turned to Tom: 

"That wound is bad, but not necessarily fatal." 

"Praise God!" 

"Keep the house quiet and don't let her see a strange 
face when she regains consciousness," was his parting 
injunction. 

The next morning her breathing was regular, and 
pulse stronger, but feverish; and about seven o'clock 
she came out of her comatose state and regained con- 
sciousness. She spoke but once, and apparently at 
the sound of her own voice immediately went into a 
convulsion, clenching her little fists, screaming, and 
calling to her father for help. 

When Tom first heard that awful cry and saw her 
terrified eyes and drawn face he tried to cover his own 
eyes and stop his ears. Then he gathered the little 
convulsed body into his arms and crooned into her ears : 

"There, Papy's baby, don't cry! Papy's got you 
now. Nothin' can hurt you. There, there, nothin' 
shall come nigh you ! ' ' 

He covered her face with tears and kisses, while he 
whispered and soothed her to sleep. When the noon 



378 The Leopard's Spots 

train came up from Independence, General Worth 
arrived. Tom had asked Gaston to telegraph for him 
in his name. 

Tom eagerly grasped his hand. "General, I knowed 
you'd come — you're a man to tie to. I never knowed 
you to fail me in your life. You're one of the smartest 
men in the world, too. You never got us boys in a hole 
so deep you didn't pull us out " 

"What can I do for you?" interrupted the General. 

"Ah, now's the worst of all, General. I'm in water 
too deep for me. My baby, the last one left on earth, 
the apple of my eye, all that holds my old achin' body 
to this world — she's — about — to — die ! I can't let her. 
General, you must save her for me. I want more 
doctors. They say there's a great doctor at Independ- 
ence. I want 'em all. Tell 'em it's a poor, old one- 
legged soldier who's shot all to pieces and lost his wife 
and all his children — all but this one baby. And I 

can't lose her ! They'll come, if you ask 'em " His 

voice broke. 

"I'll do it, Tom. I'll have them here on a special in 
three hours, or maybe sooner," returned the General, 
pressing his hand and hurrying to the telegraph office. 

The doctors arrived at three o'clock and held a 
consultation with Doctor Graham. They decided that 
the loss of blood had been so great that the only chance 
to save her was in the transfusion of blood. 

"I'll give her the blood, Tom," said Gaston, quietly, 
removing his coat and baring his arm. 

The old soldier looked up through grateful tears. 

"Next to the General, you're the best friend God 
ever give me, boy !" 

The General turned his face away and looked out of 
the window. The doctors immediately performed the 
operation, transfusing blood from Gaston into the 



A Thousand-Legged Beast 379 

child. The results did not seem to promise what they 
had hoped. Her fever rose steadily. She became 
conscious again and immediately went into the most 
fearful convulsions, breaking the torn artery a second 
time. 

Just as the sun sank behind the blue mountain peaks 
in the west her heart fluttered and she was dead. 

Tom sat by the bed for two hours, looking, looking, 
looking with wide, staring eyes at her white, dead face. 
There was not the trace of a tear. His mouth was set 
in a hard, cold way and he never moved or spoke. 

The Preacher tried to comfort Tom, who stared at him 
as though he did not recognise him at first, and then 
slowly began: 

"Go away, Preacher, I don't want to see or talk 
to you now. It's all a swindle and a lie. There is 
no God!" 

"Tom! Tom!" groaned the Preacher. 

"I tell you I mean it," he continued. "I don't want 
any more of God or His heaven. I don't want to see 
God. For if I should see Him, I'd shake my fist in His 
face and ask Him where His almighty power was when 
my poor little baby was screamin' for help while that 
damned black beast was tearin' her to pieces ! Many 
and many a time I've praised God when I read the 
Bible there where it said, not a sparrow falleth to the 
ground without His knowledge, and the very hairs of 
our head are numbered. Well, where was He when my 
little bird was nutterin' her broken, bleedin' wings in 
the claws of that stinkin' baboon — damn him to ever- 
lastin' hell ! — It's all a swindle, I tell you !" 

The Preacher was watching him now with silent pity 
and tenderness. 

"What a lie it all is !" Tom repeated. "Scratch my 
name off the church roll. I ain't got many more days 



380 The Leopard's Spots 

here, but I won't lie. I'm not a hypocrite. I'm going 
to meet God cursin' Him to His face." 

The Preacher slipped his arm around the old soldier's 
neck, and smoothed the tangled hair back from his 
forehead as he said, brokenly: 

"Tom, I love you. My whole soul is melted in 
sympathy and pity for you ! " 

The stricken man looked up into the face of his 
friend, saw his tears and felt the warmth of his love flood 
his heart, and at last he burst into tears. 

"Oh, Preacher, Preacher! you're a good friend, I 
know; but I'm done. I can't live any more ! Every 
minute, day and night, I'll hear them awful screams — 
her a-callin' me for help. I can see her lym' out there 
in the woods all night alone, moanin' and bleedin' !" 

His breast heaved and he paused as if in reverie. And 
then he sprang up, his face livid and convulsed with 
volcanic passion, that half strangled him while he 
shrieked : 

1 ' Oh ! if I only had him here before me now, and 
God Almighty would give me strength with these hands 
to tear his breast open and rip his heart out ! I — 
could — eat— it — like — a — wolf ! " 

"When they reached the cemetery the next day and 
the body was about to be lowered into the grave, Tom 
suddenly spied old Uncle Reuben Worth leaning on his 
spade by the edge of the crowd. Uncle Reuben was the 
gravedigger of the town and the only Negro present. 

"Wait ! " said Tom, raising his hand. " Don't put her 
in that grave. A nigger dug it. I can't stand it." He 
turned to a group of old soldier comrades standing by 
and said: 

"Boys, humour an old broken man once more. You'll 
dig another grave for me, won't you? It won't take 



A Thousand-Legged Beast 381 

long. The folks can go home that don't want to stay. 
I ain't got no home to go to now but this graveyard." 

His comrades filled up the grave that Uncle Reuben 
had dug and opened a new one on the other side of the 
graves where slept his other loved ones. 

Gaston took Tom to his home and stayed with him 
several hours, trying to help him. He seemed to have 
settled into a stupor from which nothing could rouse 
him. When at length the old man fell asleep, Gaston 
softly closed the door and returned to his office with a 
heavy heart. 

As he neared the center of the town he heard a 
murmur like the distant moaning of the wind in the 
hush that comes before a storm. It grew louder and 
louder and became articulate with occasional words that 
seemed far away and unreal. What could it be ? He 
had never heard such a sound before. Now it became 
clearer and the murmur was the tread of a thousand 
feet and the clatter of horses' hoofs. Not a cry or a 
shout or a word. Silence and hurrying feet. 

Ah ! He knew now. It was the searchers returning, a 
grim, swaying, voiceless mob with one black figure amid 
them. They were swarming into the court-house 
square under the big oak where an informal trial was 
to be held. 

He rushed forward to protest against a lynching. He 
could just catch a glimpse of the Negro's head swaying 
back and forth, protesting innocence in a singing 
monotone as though he were already half dead. 

He pushed his way roughly through the excited crowd 
to the center, where Hose Norman, the leader, stood 
w^',h one end of a rope in his hand and the other around 
the Negro's neck. 

The Negro turned his head quickly toward the move- 
ment made by the crowd as Gaston pressed forward. 



382 The Leopard's Spots 

It was Dick. 

Dick recognised him at the same moment, leaped 
toward him and fell at his feet crying and pleading as 
he held his feet and legs. 

"Save me, Charlie! I nebber done it! I nebber 
done it ! For God's sake help me ! Keep 'em off ! 
Dey gwine burn me erlive ! " 

Gaston turned to the crowd. "Men, there's not one 
among you that loved that old soldier and his girl as I 
did. But you must not do this crime. If this Negro is 
guilty, we can prove it in that court-house, and he will 
pay the penalty with his life. Give him a fair trial " 

"That's a lawyer talkin' now!" said a man in the 
crowd. "We know that tune. The lawyers has things 
their own way in a court-house." A murmur of assent 
mingled with oaths ran through the crowd. 

"Fair trial!" sneered Hose Norman, snatching Dick 
from the ground by the rope. "Look at the black 
devil's clothes splotched all over with her blood. We 
found him under a shelvin' rock where he'd got by 
wadin* up the branch a quarter of a mile to fool the dogs. 
We found his track in the sand some places where he 
missed the water, and tracked him clear from where we 
found Flora to the cave he was lying in. Fair trial — 
hell ! We're just waitin' for er can o' oil. You go 
back and read your law books — we'll tend ter this devil." 

The messenger came with the oil and the crowd 
moved forward. Hose shouted: "Down by Tom 
Camp's, by his spring; down the spring branch to the 
Flat Rock where he killed her!" 

On the crowd moved, swaying back and forth, with 
Gaston in their midst by Dick's side begging for a fetr 
trial for him. A crowd that hurries and does not shout 
is a fearful thing. There is something inhuman in its 
uncanny silence. 



A Thousand-Legged Beast 383 

Gaston's voice sounded strained and discordant. 
They paid no more attention to his protest than to the 
chirp of a cricket. 

They reached the spot where the child's body had 
been found. They tied the screaming, praying Negro 
to a live pine and piled around his body a great heap of 
dead wood and saturated it with oil. And then they 
poured oil on his clothes. 

Gaston looked around him, begging first one man then 
another to help him fight the crowd and rescue him. 
Not a hand was lifted or a voice raised in protest. There 
was not a Negro among them. Not only was no Negro 
in that crowd, but there was not a cabin in all that 
county that would not have given shelter to the brute, 
though they knew him guilty of the crime charged 
against him. This was the one terrible fact that 
paralysed Gaston's efforts. 

Hose Norman stepped forward to apply a match and 
Gaston grasped his arm. 

"For God's sake, Hose, wait a minute!" he begged. 
11 Don't disgrace our town, our county, our state and 
our claims to humanity by this insane brutality. A 
beast wouldn't do this. You wouldn't kill a mad dog 
or a rattlesnake in such a way. If you will kill him, 
shoot him or knock him in the head with a rock — don't 
burn him alive !" 

Hose glared at him and quietly remarked: 

"Are you done now? If you are, stand out of the 
way!" 

He struck the match and Dick uttered a scream. As 
Hose leaned forward with his match Gaston knocked 
him down, and a dozen stalwart men were upon him in 
a moment. 

"Knock the fool in the head !" one shouted. 

"Pin his arms behind him!" said another. 



384 The Leopard's Spots 

Some one quickly pinioned his arms with a cord. He 
stood in helpless rage and pity, and as he saw the match 
applied, bowed his head and burst into tears. 

He looked up at the silent crowd, standing there like 
voiceless ghosts, with renewed wonder. 

Under the glare of the light and the tears the crowd 
seemed to melt into a great crawling, swaying creature, 
half reptile, half beast, half dragon, half man, with a 
thousand legs, and a thousand eyes, and ten thousand 
gleaming teeth, and with no ear to hear and no heart 
to pity ! 

All they would grant him was the privilege of gathering 
Dick's ashes and charred bones for burial. 

•■'••'•• • 

The morning following the lynching the Preacher 
hurried to Tom Camp's to see how he was bearing the 
strain. 

His door was wide open, the bureau drawers pulled 
out, ransacked, and some of their contents were lying 
on the floor. 

"Poor old fellow, I'm afraid he's gone crazy!" 
exclaimed the Preacher. He hurried to the cemetery. 
There he found Tom at the newly made grave. He had 
worked through the night and dug the grave open with 
his bare hands and pulled the coffin up out of the ground. 
He had broken his finger nails all off trying to open it, 
and his fingers were bleeding. At last he had given up 
the effort to open the coffin, sat down beside it, and was 
arranging her toys he had made for her beside the box. 
He had brought a lot of her clothes, a pair of little 
shoes and stockings, and a bonnet, and he had placed 
these out carefully on top of the lid. He was talking 
to her. 

The Preacher lifted him gently and led him away, a 
hopeless madman. 



CHAPTER VI 
THE BLACK PERIL 

THE longer Gaston pondered over the tragic events 
of that lynching the more sinister and terrible 
became its meaning and the deeper he was 
plunged in melancholy. 

Beyond all doubt, within his own memory, since the 
Negroes under Legree's lead had drawn the colour line 
in politics, the races had been drifting steadily apart. 
The gulf was now impassable. 

Such crimes as Dick had committed, and for which 
he had paid such an awful penalty, were unknown 
absolutely under slavery, and were unknown for two 
years after the war. Their first appearance was under 
Legree's regime. Now, scarcely a day passed in the 
South without the record of such an atrocity, swiftly 
followed by a lynching, and lynching thus had become 
the punishment for all grave crimes. 

Since McLeod's triumph in the state such crimes had 
increased with alarming rapidity. The encroachments 
of Negroes upon public offices had been slow but resistless. 
Now there were nine hundred and fifty Negro magistrates 
in the state, elected for no reason except the colour of 
their skin. Feeling themselves intrenched behind state 
and Federal power, the insolence of a class of young 
Negro men was becoming more and more intolerable. 
What would happen to these fools when once they roused 
that thousand-legged, thousand-eyed beast with its ten 

385 



386 The Leopard's Spots 

thousand teeth and nails ! He had looked into its face, 
and he shuddered to recall the hour. 

He knew that this power of racial fury of the Anglo- 
Saxon when aroused was resistless, and that it would 
sweep its victims before its wrath like chaff before a 
whirlwind. 

And then he thought of the day fast coming when cul- 
ture and wealth would give the African the courage of 
conscious strength and he would answer that soul- 
piercing shriek of his kindred for help, and that other 
thousand-legged beast, now crouching in the 
shadows, would meet thousand-legged beast around 
that beacon fire of a Godless revenge ! 

More and more the impossible position of the Negro 
in America came home to his mind. He was fast being 
overwhelmed with the conviction that sooner or later we 
must squarely face the fact that two such races, count- 
ing millions in numbers, cannot live together under a 
Democracy. 

He recalled the fact that there were more Negroes in 
the United States than inhabitants in Mexico, the 
third republic of the world. 

Amalgamation simply meant Africanisation. The big 
nostrils, flat nose, massive jaw, protruding lip and kinky 
hair will register their animal marks over the proudest 
intellect and the rarest beauty of any other race. The 
rule that had no exception was that one drop of Negro 
blood makes a Negro. 

What could be the outcome of it? What was his 
duty as a citizen and a member of civilised society? 
Since the scenes through which he had passed with Tom 
Camp and that mob, the question was insistent and 
personal. It clouded his soul and weighed on him 
like the horrors of a nightmare. 

Again and again the fateful words the Preacher had 



The Black Peril 387 

dinned into his ears since his early childhood pressed 
upon him: 

"You cannot build in a Democracy a nation inside 
a nation of two antagonistic races. The future American 
must be an Anglo-Saxon or a Mulatto." 

His depression and brooding over the fearful events 
in which he had so recently taken part had tinged his 
life and all its hopes with sadness. He had reflected 
this in his letters to Sallie Worth without even mention- 
ing the events. His heart was full of sickening fore- 
boding. How could one love and be happy in a world 
haunted by sucj. horrors ! He had begged her to hasten 
her hour of final decision. He told her of his sense of 
loneliness and isolation, and of his inexpressible need 
of her love and presence in his daily life. 

Her answer had only intensified his moody feelings. 
She had written that her love grew stronger every day 
and his love more and more became necessary to her life, 
and yet she could not cloud its future with the anger of 
her father and the broken heart of her mother by an 
elopement. She feared such a shock would be fatal and 
all her life would be embittered by it. They must wait. 
She was using all her skill to win her father, but as yet 
without success. But she determined to win him, and it 
would be so. 

All this seemed far away and shadowy to Gaston's 
eager, restless soul. 

The letter had closed by saying she was preparing for 
another trip to Boston to visit Helen Lowell and that 
she should be absent at least a month. She asked that 
his next letter be addressed to Boston. 

Somehow Boston seemed just then out of the world on 
another planet ; it was so far away, and its people and 
their life so unreal to his imagination, 

But he sighed and turned resolutely to his work 0/ 



3 88 



The Leopard's Spots 



preparation for an event in his life which he 4 ">ieant to 
make great in the history of the state. It was the meet- 
ing of the Democratic convention, as yet nearly two 
years in the future. He held a subordinate position in 
his party's councils, but defeat and ruin had taken the 
conceit out of the old-line leaders and he knew that his 
day was drawing near. 

"I'll take my place among the leaders and masters of 
men," he told himself, with quiet determination; "I will 
compel the General's respect; and if I cannot win hi? 
consent, I will take her without it." 



CHAPTER VII 
EQUALITY WITH A RESERVATION 

THE lynching at Hambright had stirred the whole 
nation into unusual indignant interest. It hap- 
pened to be the climax of a series of such crimes 
committed in the South in rapid succession, and the 
death of this Negro was reported with more than usual 
vividness by a young newspaper man of genius. 

A grand mass meeting was called in Cooper Union, 
New York, at which were gathered delegates from 
different cities and states to give emphasis and unity 
to the movement and issue an appeal to the national 
government. 

When Sallie Worth reached Boston she found Helen 
Lowell at home alone. The Honourable Everett Lowell 
had made one of the speeches of his career at the mass 
meeting held in Faneuil Hall, and he was in New York, 
where he had gone to make the principal address in the 
Cooper Union Convention of Negro sympathisers. 

George Harris had accompanied him, supremely fas- 
cinated by the eloquent and masterful appeal for human 
brotherhood he had heard him make in Boston. There 
was something pathetic in the doglike worship this 
young Negro gave to his brilliant patron. In his life in 
New England he had been shocked more than once by 
the brutal prejudices of the people against his race. His 
soul had been tried to the last of its powers of endurance 
at times. He found to his amazement that, when put to 
the test, the masses of the North had even deeper repug- 

389 



39° The Leopard's Spots 

nance to the person of a Negro than the Southerners who 
grew up with him from the cradle. He had found him- 
self cut off from every honourable way of earning his 
bread, gentleman and scholar though he was, and had 
looked into the river as he walked over the bridge to 
Cambridge one night with a well-nigh resistless impulse 
to end it all. 

But Lowell had cheered him, laughed his gloomy ideas 
to scorn, and, more practical still, had secured him a 
clerkship in the Custom-House, which settled the problem 
of bread. Others had failed him, but this man of trained 
powers had never failed him. He had taught him to lift 
up his head and look the world squarely in the face. 
Lowell was, to his vivid African imagination, the ideal 
man made in the image of God, calm in judgment, free 
from all superstitions and prejudices, a citizen of the 
world of human thought, a prince of that vast ethical 
aristocracy of the free thinkers of all ages who knew no 
racial or conventional barriers between man and man. 

Harris had published a volume of poems which he had 
dedicated to Lowell, and his most inspiring verse was 
simply the outpouring of his soul in worship of this 
ideal man. 

He was his devoted worshiper for another and more 
powerful reason. In his daily intercourse with him in 
his library during his campaigns he had frequently met 
his beautiful daughter and had fallen deeply and madly 
in love with her. This secret passion he had kept hidden 
in his sensitive souh He had worshiped her from afar 
as though she had been a white-robed angel. To see her 
and be in the same house with her was all he asked. Now 
and then he had stood beside the piano and turned the 
music while she played and sang one of his new pieces, 
and he would live on that scene for months, eating his 
heart out with voiceless yearnings he dared not express. 



Equality with a Reservation 391 

In his music he made his greatest success. There was 
a fiery sweep to his passion and a deep Oriental rhythm 
in his cadence that held the imagination of his hearers in 
a spell. It is needless to say it was in this music he 
breathed his secret love. 

At first he had not dared to hope for the day when he 
could declare this secret or take his place in the list of her 
admirers and fight for his chance. But of late a great 
hope had filled his soul and illumined the world. As 
he listened to Lowell's impassioned appeals for human 
brotherhood, his scathing ridicule of pride and prejudice, 
and the poetic beauty of the language in which he pro- 
claimed his own emancipation from all the laws of caste, 
the fiery eloquence with which he trampled upon all the 
barriers man had erected against his fellow man, his soul 
was thrilled into ecstasy with the conviction that this 
scholar and scientific thinker, at least, was a free man. 
He was sure that he had risen above the limitations of 
provincialisms, racial or national prejudices. 

He had begun to dream of the day he would ask this 
godlike man for the privilege of addressing his daughter. 

The great meeting at Cooper Union had brought this 
dream to a sudden resolution. Lowell had outdone him- 
self that night. With merciless invective he had de- 
nounced the inhuman barbarism of the South in these 
lynchings. The sea of eager faces had answered his 
appeals as water the breath of a storm. He felt its 
mighty reflex influence sweep back on his soul and lift 
him to greater heights. He demanded equality of 
man on every inch of this earth's soil. 

" I demand this perfect equality," he cried, "absolutely 
without reservation or subterfuge, both in form and 
essential reality. It is the life-blood of Democracy. It is 
the reason of our existence. Without this we are a living 
lie, a stench in the nostrils of God and humanity ! " 



3 9 2 The Leopard's Spots 

A cheer from a thousand Negro throats rent the air as 
lie thus closed. The crowd surged over the platform and 
for ten minutes it was impossible to restore order or 
continue the programme. Young Harris pressed his 
patron's hand and kissed it while tears of pride and 
gratitude rained down his face. 

This speech made a national sensation. It was printed 
in full in all the partisan papers, where it was hoped 
capital might be made of it for the next political 
campaign, and the National Campaign Committee, 
of which he was a member, ordered a million copies of 
it printed for distribution among the Negroes. 

When Lowell and Harris reached Boston, as they 
parted at the depot Harris said: 

"Will you be at home to-morrow, Mr. Lowell? " 

"Yes. Why?" 

"I would like a talk with you in the morning on 
a matter of great importance. May I call at nine 
o'clock?" 

"Certainly. Come right into the library. You'll find 
me there, George." 

That night as Lowell walked through his brilliantly 
lighted home he felt a sense of glowing pride and 
strength. With his hands behind him he paced back and 
forth in his great library and out through the spacious 
hall with firm tread and flushed face. He felt he could 
look these great ancestors in the face to-night as they 
gazed down on him from their heavy gold frames. They 
had called him to high ambitions and a strenuous life 
when his indolence had pleaded for ease and the 
dilettanteism of a fruitless dreaming. His father had 
cultivated his artistic tastes, dreamed and done nothing. 
But these grim-visaged, eagle-eyed ancestors had called 
him to a life of realities, and he had heard their voices. 

Yes, to-night his name was on a million lips. Th^ 



Equality with a Reservation 393 

door of the United States Senate was opening at his 
touch and mightier possibilities loomed in the future. 

He felt a sense of gratitude for the heritage of that 
stately old home and its inspiring memories. Its roots 
struck down into the soil of a thousand years, and 
spread beneath the ocean to that greater Old World life. 
He felt his heart beat with pride that he was adding new 
honours to that family history, and adding to the soul- 
treasures his daughter's children would inherit. 

Seated in the library next morning Harris was nervous 
and embarrassed. He made two or three attempts to 
begin the subject, but turned aside with some unimpor- 
tant remark. 

"Well, George, what is the problem that makes you 
so grave this morning? " asked Lowell, with kindly 
patronage. 

Harris felt that his hour had come and he must 
face it. He leaned forward in his chair and looked 
steadily down at the rug, while he clasped both his hands 
firmly across his lap and spoke with great rapidity. 

"Mr. Lowell, I wish to say to you that you have 
taught me the greatest faith of life — faith in my fellow 
man without which there can be no faith in God. What 
I have suffered as a man as I have come in contact with 
the brutality with which my race is almcst universally 
treated God only can ever know. 

"The culture I have received has simply multiplied a 
thousandfold my capacity to suffer. But for the inspira- 
tion of your manhood I would have ended my life in the 
river. In you I saw a great light. I saw a man really 
made in the image of God with mind and soul trained, 
with head erect, scorning the weak prejudices of caste, 
which dare to call the image of God clean or unclean in 
passion or pride. 

" I lifted up my head and said: One such man redeems 



394 The Leopard's Spots 

a world from infamy. It's worth while to live in a world 
honoured by one such man, for he is the prophecy of more 
to come." 

He paused a moment, fidgeted with a piece of paper 
he had picked up from the table, and seemed at a loss 
for a word. 

It never dawned on Lowell what he was driving at. 
He supposed, as a matter of course, he was referring to 
his great speeches and was going to ask for some promo- 
tion in a governmental department at Washington. 

"I'm proud to have been such an inspiration to you, 
George. You know how much I think of you. What is 
on your mind? " he asked, at length. 

"I have hidden it from every human eye, sir; I am 
afraid to breathe it aloud alone. I have only tried to 
sing it in song in an impersonal way. Your wonderful 
words of late have emboldened me to speak. It is this 
— I am madly, desperately in love with your daughter." 

Lowell sprang to his feet as though a bolt of lightning 
had suddenly shot down his backbone. He glared at the 
Negro with widely dilated eyes and heaving breath as 
though he had been transformed into a leopard and was 
about to spring at his throat. 

Before answering, and with a gesture commanding 
silence, he walked rapidly to the library door and 
closed it. 

"And I have come to ask you," continued Harris, 
ignoring his gesture, "if I may pay my addresses to her 
with your consent." 

"Harris, this is crazy nonsense. Such an idea is 
preposterous. I am amazed that it should ever have 
entered your head. Let this be the end of it here and 
now, if you have any desire to retain my friendship." 

Lowell said this with a scowl and an emphasis of 
indignant, rising inflection. The Negro seemed stunned 



Equality with a Reservation 395 

by this swift blow in his very teeth, that seemed to 
place him outside the pale of a human being. 

"Why is such a hope unreasonable, sir, to a man of 
your scientific mind?" 

"It is a question of taste," snapped Lowell. 

"Am I not a graduate of the same university with you ? 
Did I not stand as high, and, age for age, am I not 
your equal in culture? " 

"Granted. Nevertheless, you are a Negro, and I do 
not desire the infusion of your blood in my family." 

"But I have more of white than Negro blood, sir." 

"So much the worse. It is the mark of shame." 

" But it is the one drop of Negro blood at which your 
taste revolts, is it not ? " 

"To be frank, it is." 

"Why is it an unpardonable sin in me that my 
ancestors were born under tropic skies where skin 
and hair were tanned and curled to suit the sun's 
fierce rays?" 

"All tropic races are not Negroes, and your race has 
characteristics apart from accidents of climate that make 
it unique in the annals of man," rejoined Lowell. 

"And yet you demand perfect equality of man with 
man, absolutely in form and substance without reserva- 
tion or subterfuge ! " 

"Yes; political equality." 

"Politics is but a secondary phenomenon of society. 
You said absolute equality," protested Harris. 

"The question you broach is a question of taste, and 
the deeper social instincts of racial purity and self- 
preservation. I care not what your culture or your 
genius or your position, I do not desire, and will not 
permit, a mixture of Negro blood in my family. The 
idea is nauseating, and to my daughter it would be 
repulsive beyond the power of words to express it ! " 



396 The Leopard's Spots 

" And yet," pleaded Harris, "you invited me to your 
home, introduced me to your daughter, seated me at 
your table and used me in your appeal to your constitu- 
ents, and now, when I dare ask the privilege of seeking 
her hand in honourable marriage, you, the scholar, 
patriot, statesman and philosopher of Equality and 
Democracy, slam the door in my face and tell me that 
I am a Negro ! Is this fair or manly ? " 

"I fail to see its unfairness." 

"It is amazing. You are a master of history and 
sociology. You know as clearly as I do that social 
intercourse is the only possible pathway to love. And 
you opened it to me with your own hand. Could I control 
the beat of my heart ? There are some powers within us 
that are involuntary. You could have prevented my 
meeting your daughter as an equal. But all the will 
power of earth could not prevent my loving her when 
once I had seen her and spoken to her. The sound 
of the human voice, the touch of the human hand in 
social equality are the divine sacraments that open 
the mystery of love." 

"Social rights are one thing, political rights another," 
interrupted Lowell. 

" I deny it. If you are honest with yourself, you know 
It is not true. Politics is but a manifestation of society. 
Society rests on the family. The family is the unit of 
civilisation. The right to love and wed where one loves 
is the badge of fellowship in the order of humanity. The 
man who is denied this right in any society is not a 
member of it. He is outside of any manifestation of its 
essential life. You had as well talk about the importance 
of clothes for a dead man as political rights for such 
a pariah. You have classed him with the beasts of 
the field. As a human unit he does not exist for you." 

" Harris, it is utterly useless to argue a point like this," 



Equality with a Reservation 397 

Lowell interupted, coldly. "This must be the end of our 
acquaintance. You must not enter my house again." 

"My God, you can't kick me out of your home like 
this when you brought me to it, and made it an issue of 
life or death!" 

"I tell you again you are crazy. I have brought you 
here against her wishes. She left the house with her 
friend this morning to avoid seeing you. Your presence 
has always been repulsive to her, and with me it has been ' 
a political study, not a social pleasure." 

"I beg for only a desperate chance to overcome this 
feeling. Surely a man of your profound learning and 
genius cannot sympathise with such prejudices ? Let me 
try — let her decide the issue." 

"1 decline to discuss the question any further." 

"I can't give up without a struggle ! " the Negro cried, 
with desperation. 

Lowell arose with a gesture of impatience. 

" Now you are getting to be simply a nuisance. To be 
perfectly plain with you, I haven't the slightest desire 
that my family, with its proud record of a thousand years 
of history and achievement, shall end in this stately old 
house in a brood of mulatto brats ! " 

Harris winced and sprang to his feet, trembling with 
passion. " I see," he sneered ; "the soul of Simon Legree 
has at last become the soul of the nation. The South 
expresses the same luminous truth with a little more 
clumsy brutality. But their way is after all more 
merciful. The human body becomes unconscious at the 
touch of an oil-fled flame in sixty seconds. Your methods 
are more refined and more hellish in cruelty. You 
have trained my ears to hear, eyes to see, hands to touch 
and heart to feel, that you might torture with the denial 
of every cry of body and soul and roast me in the flames 
of impossible desires for time and eternity ! " 



398 The Leopard's Spots 

"That will do now. There's the door!" thundered 
Lowell, with a gesture of stern emphasis. "I happen to 
know the important fact that a man or woman of Negro 
ancestry, though a century removed, will suddenly breed 
back to a pure Negro child, thick-lipped, kinky-headed, 
flat-nosed, black-skinned. One drop of your blood in my 
family could push it backward three thousand years in 
history. If you were able to win her consent, a thing 
unthinkable, I would do what old Virginius did in the 
Roman Forum — kill her with my own hand, rather than 
see her sink in your arms into the black waters of a 
Negroid life ! Now go ! " 



CHAPTER VIII 
THE NEW SIMON LEGREE 

HARRIS immediately resigned his office in the 
Custom-House which he owed to Lowell and 
began a search for employment. 

' ' I will not be a pensioner of a government of hypo- 
crites and liars," he exclaimed, as he sealed his letter of 
resignation. 

And then began his weary tramp in search of work. 
Day after day, week after week, he got the same answer 
— an emphatic refusal. The only thing open to a Negro 
was a position as porter, or bootblack, or waiter in second- 
rate hotels and restaurants, or in domestic service as 
coachman, butler or footman. He was no more fitted for 
these places than he was to live with his head under 
water. 

"I will blow my brains out before I will prostitute 
my intellect and my consciousness of free manhood by 
such degrading associates and such menial service ! " he 
declared, with sullen fury. 

At last he determined to lay aside his pride and educa- 
tion and learn a manual trade. Not a labour-union 
would allow him to enter its ranks. 

He managed to earn a few dollars at odd jobs and 
went to New York. Here he was treated with greater 
brutality than in- Boston. At last he got a position 
in a big clothing factory. He was so bright in colour 
that the manager never suspected that he was a Negro, 

399 



400 The Leopard's Spots 

as he was accustomed to employing swarthy Jews from 
Poland and Russia. 

When Harris entered the factory the employees discov- 
ered within an hour his race, laid down their work, and 
walked out on a strike until he was removed. 

He again tried to break into a labour-union and get 
the protection of its constitution and laws. He man- 
aged at last to make the acquaintance of a labour leader 
who had been a Quaker preacher, and was elated to 
discover that his name was Hugh Halliday, and that he 
was a son of one of the Hallidays who had assisted in the 
rescue of his mother and father from slavery. He told 
Halliday his history and begged his intercession with 
the labour-union. 

" I'll try for you, Harris," he said, "but it's a doubtful 
experiment. The men fear the Negro as a pestilence." 

"Do the best you can for me. I must have bread. I 
only ask a man's chance," answered Harris. Halliday 
proposed his name and backed it up with a strong per- 
sonal indorsement, gave a brief sketch of his culture and 
accomplishments, and asked that he be allowed to learn 
the bricklayer's trade. 

When his name came up before the Bricklayers' 
Union, and it was announced that he was a Negro, it 
precipitated a debate of such fury that it threatened to 
develop into a riot. 

One of the men sprang toward the presiding officer 
with blazing eyes, gesticulating wildly until recognised. 

"I have this to say," he shouted. "No negro shall 
ever enter the door of this Union except over my dead 
body. The Negro can under-live us. We cannot com- 
pete with him, and as a race we cannot organise him. 
Let him stay in the South. We have no room for him 
here, and we will kill him if he tries to take our bread 
from us." 



The New Simon Legree 401 

"Have you no sympathy for his age-long sufferings 
in slavery? " interrupted Halliday. 

"Slavery ! Of all the delusions, the idea that slavery 
was abolished in this country in 1865 is the silliest. 
Slavery was never firmly established until the chattel 
form was abandoned for the wage system in 1865. 
Chattel slavery was too expensive. The wage system 
is cheaper. Now they never have to worry about food, 
or clothes, or houses, or the children, or the aged and 
infirm among wage slaves. 

"Once the master hunted the slave — now the slave 
must hunt the master, beg for the privilege of serving 
him, and trample others to death trying to fasten the 
chains on when a brother slave drops dead in his tracks. 

"No, I don't shed any crocodile tears over the Negro 
slavery of the South. It was a mild form of servitude 
in which the Negro had plenty to eat and wear, never 
suffered from cold, slept soundly, and reared his children 
in droves with never a thought for the morrow. 

"Then mothers and babes were sometimes, though not 
often, separated by an executor's or sheriff's sale. Now 
we know better than to allow babes to be born. Then, a 
babe was a valuable asset and received the utmost care. 
Now, we have baby farms which we fertilise with their 
bones. I know of one old hag in this envy who has killed 
more than two thousand babes. 

"What chance has your girl or mine to marry and 
build a home ? Not one in a hundred will ever feel the 
breath of a babe at her breast. 

"No!" he closed, in thunder tones. "I'll fight the 
encroachment of the Negro on our life with every power 
of body and soul ! " 

A hundred men leaped to their feet at once, shouting 
and gesticulating. The chairman recognised a tall, dark 
man with a Russian face, but who spoke perfect English.* 



402 The Leopard's Spots 

"I, gentlemen, am an Anarchist in principle, and differ 
slightly in the process by which I come to the same con- 
clusion as my friend who has taken his seat. I grieve at 
the necessity before the working-men of returning to 
slavery. All we can hope now for a century or two 
centuries is socialism. Socialism is simply a system of 
slavery — that is, enforced labour in which a Bureaucracy 
is master. We must enter again a condition of involun- 
tary servitude for the guarantee by the State of food and 
clothes, shelter and children. 

" It is no time to weep over slavery. The one thing we 
demand now is the nationalisation of industries under the 
control of State Bureaus which will enforce labour from 
every citizen according to his capacity, for the simple 
guarantee of what the Negro slave received, the satisfac- 
tion of two elemental passions, hunger and love." 

Again a clamour broke out that drowned the speaker's 
voice. A Socialist and an Anarchist clenched in a fight, 
and for five minutes pandemonium reigned, but at the 
end of it Harris was lying on the sidewalk with a gash in 
his head, and Halliday was bending over him. 

When Harris had recovered from his wound, Halliday 
took him on a round of visits to big mills in a populous 
manufacturing city across in New Jersey. 

"These mills are all owned by Simon Legree," he in- 
formed Harris, "and the unions have been crushed out of 
them by methods of which he is past master. I don't 
know, but it may be possible to get you in there." 

They tried a half-dozen mills in vain, and at last they 
met a foreman who knew Halliday who consented to 
hear his plea. 

"You are fooling away your time and this man's time, 
Halliday," he told him in a friendly way. "I'd cut my 
right arm off sooner than take a Negro in these mills and 
precipitate a strike." 



The New Simon Legree 403 

"But would a strike occur with no union organisa- 
tion existing?" 

"Yes, in a minute. You know Simon Legree, who 
owns these mills. If a disturbance occurred here now the 
old devil wouldn't hesitate to close every mill next day 
and beggar fifty thousand people." 

Why would he do such a stupid thing ? ' ' 

"Just to show the brute power of his fifty millions of 
dollars over the human body. The awful power in that 
brute's hands, represented in that money, is something 
appalling. Before the war he cracked a blacksnake whip 
over the backs of a handful of Negroes. Now look at 
him, in his black silk hat and faultless dress. With his 
millions he can commit any and every crime from theft 
to murder with impunity. His power is greater than a 
monarch. He controls fleets of ships, mines and mills, 
and has under his employ many thousands of men. 
Their families and associates make a vast population. 
He buys Judges, Juries, Legislatures and Governors, 
and with one stroke of his pen to-day can beggar thou- 
sands of people. He can equip an army of hirelings, 
make peace or war on his own account, or force the 
governments to do it for him. He has neither faith in 
God nor fear of the devil. He regards all men as his 
enemies and all women his game. 

"They say he used to haunt the New Orleans slave 
market, when he was young and owned his Red River 
farm, occasionally spending his last dollar to buy a hand- 
some Negro girl who took his fancy. 

"Look at him now with his bloated face, beastly jaw 
and coarse lips. He walks the streets with his lecherous 
eyes twinkling like a snake's, and saliva trickling from the 
corners of his mouth, practically monarch of all he sur- 
veys. He selects his victims at his own sweet will, and 
with his army of hirelings to do his bidding, backed by 



404 The Leopard's Spots 

his millions, he lives a charmed life in a round of 
daily crime. 

1 ' How many lives he has blasted among the popula- 
tion of the multitude of souls dependent on him for 
bread, God only knows. It is said he has murdered the 
souls of many innocent girls in these mills " 

"Surely that is an exaggeration," broke in Halliday. 

"On the other hand, I believe the picture is far too 
mild. I tell you no human mind can conceive the awful 
brute power over the human body his millions hold under 
our present conditions of life." 

Th *re was a tinge of deep, personal bitterness in the 
man's words that held Halliday in a spell while he 
continued : 

"Under our present conditions men and women must 
fight one another like beasts for food and shelter. The 
wildest dreams cf lust and cruelty under the old sys- 
tem of Southern slavery would be laughed at by this 
modern master." 

He paused a moment in painful reverie. 

1 ' There lies his big yacht in the harbour now. She is 
just in from a cruise in the Orient. She cost half a 
million dollars, and carries a crew of fifty men. With 
them are beautiful girls hired at fancy wages, connected 
with the stewardess' department. She ships a new 
crew every trip. Not one of those young faces is ever 
lifted again among their friends." 

He paused again and a tear coursed down his face. 

"I confess I am bitter. I loved one of those girls 
once when I was younger. She was a mere child of 
seventeen." His voice broke. "Yes, she came back 
shattered in health and ruined. I am supporting her 
now at a quiet country place. She is dying. 

"Think of the farce of it all!" he continued, pas- 
sionately. "The picture of that brute with a whip in 



The New Simon Legree 405 

hi& hand beating a Negro caused the most terrible war 
in the history of the world. Three millions of men flew 
at each other's throats and for four years fought like 
demons. A million men and six billions of dollars' 
worth of property were destroyed. 

"He was a poor, harmless fool there, beating his own 
faithful slave to death. Compare that Legree with the 
one of to-day, and you compare a mere stupid man with 
a prince of hell. But does this fiend excite the wrath 
of the righteous? Far from it. His very name is 
whispered in admiring awe by millions. He boasts that 
dozens of proud mothers strip their daughters to the 
limit the police law will allow at every social function he 
honours with his presence, and offer to sell him their 
own flesh and blood for the paltry consideration of a 
life interest in one-third of his estate. And he laughs at 
them all. His name is magic. 

"I know of one weak fool, a petty millionaire, whom 
Legree lured into a speculative trap and ruined. On 
his knees in his Fifth Avenue palace the whining coward 
kissed Legree 's feet and begged for mercy. He kicked 
him and sneered at his misery. At last, when he had 
tortured him to the verge of madness, he offered to 
spare him on one condition — that he should give 
him his daughter as a ransom. And he did it. 

"No, the brute power of such a man to-day is beyond 
the grasp of the human mind. His chances for debauch- 
ery and cruelty are limitless. The brains of his hirelings 
are put to the test to invent new crimes against nature to 
interest his appetites. The only limit to his power of 
evil is the capacity of the human mind to think and his 
body to act and endure. When he is exhausted, he 
can command the knowledge and the skill of ages and 
the masters of all science to restore his strength, while 
satellites lick his feet and sing his praises. 



406 The Leopard's Spots 

" Risk the whim of such a man with the lives of these 
poor people dependent on me? No, I'd sooner kill that 
Xegro you have brought here and take my chances of 
detection." 

Halliday gave up the task, returned to New York, 
and sought the aid of the greatest labour leader in 
America, who had arrived in the city from the West the 
day before. 

"No, Halliday," he said, emphatically. "Send your 
Negro back down South. We don't want any more of 
them, or to come in contact with them. I have just 
come from the West, where a desperate strike was in 
progress in one of Legree's mines. Our men were 
toiling in the depth of the earth in midnight darkness, 
never seeing the light of day, for just enough to keep 
body and soul together. They tried to wring one little 
concession from their absent master, who had never 
condescended to honour them with his presence. What 
did he do ? Shut down his mines and brought up from 
the South a herd of Negroes, who came crowding to the 
mines to push our men back into hell. We begged them 
to go home and let us alone. They grinned, shuffled, 
and looked at their white driver for the signal to go to 
work. I ordered the men to shoot them down like 
dogs. We made the Governor issue a proclamation 
driving them back South and warning their race that 
if they attempted to enter the borders of the State he 
would meet them with Gatling guns. 

"No; send your friend South. The winters up here 
are too cold for him and the summers too hot." 

In the meantime, Harris walked the streets with a 
storm of furious passion raging in his soul. He was 
the son of Eliza Harris, who had fled from the kindliest 
form of slavery in Kentucky. He had a trained mind, 
and the brightest gift of musical genius. Yet he stood 



The New Simon Legree 407 

that day at the door of Simon Legree and begged in vain 
for the privilege of serving in the meanest capacity as his 
slave. What a strange circle of time, those forty years 
of the past ! 

And then the tempter whispered the right word at the 
right moment, and his fate was sealed. 

" There's but one thing left for me to do. I will 
do it!" he exclaimed. 

He entered the employ of a gambling joint and 
deliberately began a life of crime. After a month he 
won five hundred dollars, and went on a strange journey, 
visiting the scenes in Colorado, Kansas, Indiana and 
Ohio, where Negroes had recently been burned alive. 
He would find the ash-heap and place on it a wreath of 
costly flowers. He lingered thoughtfully over the ash- 
piles he found in Kansas made from the flesh of living 
Negroes. He tried to imagine the figure of John Brown 
marching by his side, but instead he felt the grip of 
Simon Legree 's hand on his throat, living, militant, 
omnipotent. His soul had conquered the world. Yet 
even Legree had never dared to burn a Negro to death 
in the old days of slavery. 

He found one of these ash-heaps at the foot of the 
monument in Indiana to the great Western colleague of 
Thaddeus Stevens, and with a sigh placed his wreath on 
it, and passed on into Ohio. 

He went to the spot where his mother had climbed up 
the banks of the Ohio River into the promised land of 
liberty, and followed the track of the old Underground 
Railroad for fugitive slaves a few miles. He came to a 
village which was once a station of this system. Here, 
strangest of all, he found one of these ash-heaps in the 
public square. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE NEW AMERICA 

ANOTHER year of struggle and suffering, hope 
and fear, Gaston had passed, and still he was no 
nearer the dream of realised love. If anything 
had changed, the General's pride had added new force to 
his determination that his daughter should not marry 
the man who had defied him. 

His chief reliance for Gaston's defeat was on time 
and the broadening of Sallie's mind by extended travel. 
He had sent her abroad twice, and this year he sent her 
to pend another three months in Europe. 

These absences seemed only to intensify her longing 
for her lover. On her return the General would burst 
into a storm of rage at her persistence. She had ceased 
to give him any bitter answers, only smiling quietly and 
maintaining an ominous silence. 

He had a new cause now of dislike for the man of her 
choice. Gaston had become a man of acknowledged 
power in politics and was the leader of a group of radical 
young men who demanded the complete reorganisation 
of the Democratic party, the shelving of the old-timers, 
among whom he was numbered, and the announcement 
of a radical programme upon the Negro issue. 

Radicalism of any sort he had always hated. Now, 
as advanced by this young upstart, it was doubly 
odious. The General had never given much time to his 
political duties, but his name was a power, and he gave 
regularly to the campaign committee the largest cash 
contribution they received. 

408 



The New America 409 

He tried in a clumsy way to put Gaston off the State 
Executive Committee, but failed. He saw Gaston 
quietly laughing at him. Then he opened his pocket- 
book and worked up a machine. It was a formidable 
power, and Gaston feared its influence in the coming 
convention. 

While this fight was in progress, and Sallie was in 
Europe, the destruction of the Maine in Havana Harbour 
stilled the world into silence with the echo of its sullen 
roar. There was a moment's pause, and the nation 
lifted its great silk battle-flags from the Capitol at 
Washington, and called for volunteers to wipe the 
empire of Spain from the map of the Western world. 

The war lasted but a hundred days, but in those 
hundred days was packed the harvest of centuries. 

War is always the crisis that flashes the searchlight 
into the souls of men and nations, revealing their 
unknown strength and weakness, and the changes that 
have been silently wrought in the years of peace. 

In these hundred days, statesmen who were giants 
suddenly shrivelled into pygmies and disappeared from 
the nation's life. Young men whose names were 
unknown became leaders of the republic and won 
immortal fame. 

We were afr°"d that our nation still lacked unity. 
The world said we were a mob of money-grubbers, and 
had lost our grasp of principle. The President called 
for 125,000 men to die for their flag, and next morning 
800,000 were struggling for place in the line. 

We feared that religion might threaten the future with 
its bitter feud between the Roman Catholic and Protes- 
tant in a great crisis. We saw cur Catholic regiments 
march forth to that war with screaming fife and throb- 
bing drum, and the flag of our country above them, 
going forth to fight an army that had been blessed by 



410 The Leopard's Spots 

the Pope of Rome. The flag had become the common 
symbol of eternal justice, and the nation the organ 
through which all creeds and cults sought for right- 
eousness. 

We feared the gulf between the rich and the poor had 
become impassable, and we saw the millionaire's son take 
his place in the ranks with the working-man. The first 
soldier wearing our uniform who fell before Santiago 
with a Spanish bullet in his breast was an only son 
from a palatial home in New York, and by his side lay 
a cowboy from the West and a plowboy from the South. 
Once more we showed the world that classes and clothes 
are but thin disguises that hide the eternal childhood 
of the soul. 

Sectionalism and disunity had been the most terrible 
realities in our national history. Our fathers had a 
poet leader whose soul dreamed a beautiful dream called 
E Pluribus Unum. But it had remained a dream. New 
England had threatened secession years before South 
Carolina in blind rage led the way. The Union was 
saved by a sacrifice of blood that appalled the world. 
And still millions feared the South might be false to 
her plighted honour at Appomattox. The ghost of 
Secession made and unmade the men and measures of 
a generation. 

Then came the trumpet call that put the South to 
the test of fire and blood. The world waked next 
morning to find for the first time in our history the 
dream of union a living fact. There was no North, 
no South — but from the James to the Rio Grande the 
children of the Confederacy rushed with eager, flushed 
faces to defend the flag their fathers had once fought. 

And God reserved in this hour for the South, land of 
ashes and tombs and tears, the pain and the glory of the 
first offering of life on the altar of the new nation. Our 



The New America 411 

first and only officer who fell dead on the deck of a war- 
ship, with the flag above him, was Worth Bagley, of 
North Carolina, the son of a Confederate soldier. The 
gallant youngster who stood on the bridge of the 
Merrimac, and between two towering mountains of 
flaming cannon, in the darkness of night blew up his 
ship and set a new standard of Anglo-Saxon daring, 
was the son of a Confederate soldier of North Carolina. 

The town of Hambright furnished a whole company 
of eighty-six men, a Captain, three Lieutenants, and a 
Major, who saw service in the war. 

When they were drawn up in the court-house square 
under the old oak, the Preacher stood before them and 
called the roll from four browned parchments. They 
were Campbell County Confederate rosters. Every one 
of the eighty-six men was a child of the Confederacy. 
And the immortal Company F, that was wiped out of 
existence at the battle of Gettysburg, furnished more 
than half these children. 

"Ah, boys, blood will tell!" cried the Preacher, 
shaking hands with each man as they left. 

A single round from the guns, and it was over. The 
yellow flag of Spain, lit with the sunset splendour of a 
world empire, faded from the sky of the West. 

A new naval power had risen to disturb the dreams of 
statesmen. The Oregon, that fierce leviathan of ham- 
mered steel, had made her mark upon the globe. In a 
long black trail of smoke and ribbon of foam she had 
circled the earth without a pause for breath. The 
thunder of her lips of steel over the shattered hulks of a 
European navy proclaimed the advent of a giant 
democracy that struck terror to the hearts of titled 
snobs. 

He who dreamed this monster of steel, felt her heart 
beat, saw her rush through foaming seas to victory, 



412 The Leopard's Spots 

before the pick of a miner had struck the ore for her 
ribs from a mountainside, was a child of the Confed- 
eracy — that Confederacy whose desperate genius had 
sent the Alabama spinning round the globe in a 
whirlwind of fire. 

America, united at last and invincible, waked to the 
consciousness of her resistless power. 

And, most marvellous of all, this hundred days of war 
had reunited the Anglo-Saxon race. This sudden union 
of the English-speaking people in friendly alliance 
disturbed the equilibrium of the world, and con- 
firmed the Anglo-Saxon in his title to the primacy of 
racial sway. 




CHAPTER X 
ANOTHER DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 

LMOST every problem of national life had been 
illumined and made more hopeful by teh 
searchlight of war save one — the irrepressible 
conflict between the African and the Anglo-Saxon in the 
development of our civilisation. The glare of war only 
made the blackness of this question the more apparent. 

While the well-drilled Negro regulars, led by white 
officers, acquitted themselves with honour at Santiago, 
the Negro volunteers were the source of riot and disorder 
wherever they appeared. From the first, it was seen by 
thoughtful men that the Negro was an impossibility in 
the new-born unity of national life. When the Anglo- 
Saxon race was united into one homogeneous mass in 
the fire of this crisis, the Negro ceased that moment to 
be a ward of the nation. 

A Negro regiment had been in camp at Independence 
during the war and was still there awaiting orders to be 
mustered out. Its presence had inflamed the passions 
of both races to the danger-point of riot again and again. 
The Negro who was editing their paper at Independence 
had gone to the length of the utmost license in seeking 
to influence race antagonism. 

When the regiment of which the Hambright company 
was a member was mustered out at Independence, 
Gaston was invited to deliver the address of welcome 
home to the soldiers, and a crowd of five thousand 
people were present, one-half of whom were Negroes. 

413 



414 The Leopard's Spots 

While Gaston was speaking in the square, a Negro 
trooper passing along the street refused to give an inch 
of the sidewalk to a young lady and her escort who met 
him. He ran into the girl, jostling her roughly, and the 
young white man knocked him down instantly and 
beat him to death. The wildest passions of the Negro 
regiment were roused. McLeod was among them that 
day, seeking to increase his popularity and influence in 
the coming election, and he at once denounced Gaston as 
the cause of the assault, and urged the leaders in secret 
to retaliate by putting a bullet through his heart. 

The white regiment had been mustered out, and their 
guns in most cases had been retained by the men. The 
Negro troops were to be mustered out the next day. 

Late in the afternoon Gaston had received informa- 
tion that a plot was on foot to kill him that night, when 
a Negro mob would batter down his door on the pretense 
of searching for the man who had assaulted the trooper. 
The Colonel of the regiment just disbanded heard it, and 
that night his men bivouacked in the yard of the hotel, 
and slept on their guns. 

A little after twelve o'clock a mob of five hundred 
Negroes attempted to force their way into the hotel. 
They met a regiment of bayonets, broke, and fled in 
wild confusion. 

This event was the last straw that broke the camel's 
back. In the morning paper a blazing notice in display 
capitals covered the first page, calling a mass meeting 
of white citizens at noon in Independence Hall. 

The little city of independence was one of the oldest 
in the nation. It boasted the first declaration of 
independence from Great Britain, antedating a year the 
Philadelphia document. The people had never rested 
tamely under tyranny nor accepted insult. 

The McLeod Negro-Farmer Legislature had remodeled 



Another Declaration of Independence 415 

the ancient charter of the city, and under the new 
instrument a combination of Negroes and criminal whites 
had taken possession of every office. 

One-half of these office-holders were incompetent and 
insolent Negroes. The Chief of Police was an ignoramus 
in league with criminals, and their Mayor, a white 
demagogue elected by pandering to the lowest passions 
of a Negro constituency. 

Burglary and highway robbery were almost daily 
occurrences. The two largest stores in the city and four 
residences had been burned within a month. Appeal to 
the police became a farce, and it was necessary to hire 
and arm a force of private guards to patrol the city at 
night. When arrests were made the servile authorities 
promptly released the criminals. Negro insolence 
reached a height that made it impossible for ladies to 
walk the streets without an armed escort, and white 
children were waylaid and beaten on their way to the 
public schools. 

The incendiary organ of the Negroes, a newspaper that 
had been noted for its virulent spirit of race hatred, had 
published an editorial defaming the virtue of the white 
women of the community. 

At eleven o'clock the quaint old hall, built in Revolu- 
tionary days to seat five hundred people, was packed with 
a crowd of eight hundred stern-visaged men, standing 
so thick it was impossible to pass through them, and 
thousands were massed outside around the building. 

Gaston, whose ancestors had been leaders in the great 
Revolution, was called to the chair. The speech- 
making was brief, fiery and to the point. 

Within one hour they unanimously adopted this 
resolution : 

"Resolved, that we issue a second Declaration 
of Independence from the infamy of corrupt 



4i6 The Leopard's Spots 

and degraded government. The day of Negro 
domination over the Anglo-Saxon race shall 
close, now, once and forever. The government 
of North Carolina was established by a race of 
pioneer white freemen for white men, and it shall 
remain in the hands of freemen. 

"We demand the overthrow of the criminal 
and semi-barbarian regime under which we now 
live, and to this end serve notice on the present 
Mayor of this city, its Chief of Police, and the 
six Negro aldermen and their low white asso- 
ciates, that their resignations are expected by 
nine o'clock to-morrow morning. We demand 
that the Negro Anarchist who edits a paper in 
this city shall close his office, remove its fixtures 
and leave this county within twenty-four hours." 
A committee of twenty-five, with Gaston as its 
Chairman, was appointed to enforce these resolutions. 
By four o'clock an army of two thousand white 
men was organised and placed under the command of 
the Reverend Duncan McDonald, pastor of the First 
Presbyterian Church of the city, who had been a 
brave young officer in the Confederate army. Every 
minister in the county was enrolled in this guard 
and carried a musket on picket duty or in a reserve 
camp that night. 

At six o'clock Gaston summoned thirty-five of the 
more prominent Negroes of the county, including two of 
the professors in Miss Susan Walker's college, to meet 
the Committee of Twenty-five and receive its ultimatum. 
Stern and hard of face sat the twenty-five chosen 
representatives of that world-conquering race of men 
at one end of the room, while at the other end sat the 
thirty-five Negroes, anxious and fearful, realising that 
their day of dominion had ended. 



Another Declaration of Independence 417 

Gaston rose and handed them a copy of the resolutions. 

1 ' We give you till seven thirty to-morrow morning, as 
the leaders of your race, to carry out these demands," 
he said, gravely. 

"But we have no authority, sir," replied the Negro 
preacher to whom he handed the paper. 

"Your authority is equal to ours — the authority of 
elemental manhood. If you cannot execute them in 
peace, we will do it by force." 

"We must decline such responsibilities unless" — the 
Negro started to argue the question. 

"The meeting stands adjourned," quietly announced 
Gaston, taking up his hat and leaving the room, followed 
by his committee. 

At seven thirty next morning no answer had been 
received. Gaston called for seventy-five volunteers to 
execute the decrees. 

Within thirty minutes five hundred men swung into 
Hne at eight o'clock and marched four abreast to the 
office of the Negro paper. It was promptly burned to 
the ground, its editor paid its cash value, and, with a 
rope around his neck, escorted to the depot and placed 
on a north-bound train, 

As Gaston handed him his ticket for Washington he 
quietly said to him: 

" I have saved your life this morning. If you value it, 
never put your foot on the soil of this state again." 

"Thank you, sir. I'll not return." 

While this guard, under strict military discipline, was 
executing this decree, a mob of a thousand armed Negroes 
concealed themselves in a hedgerow and fired on them 
from ambush, killing one man and wounding six. 
Gaston formed hk men in line, returned the fire with 
deadly effect, charged the mob, put them to flight, 
driving them into the woods outside the city limits, 



418 The Leopard's Spots 

and placed the town under informal but strict martial 
law. By ten o'clock the resignation of every city and 
county o nicer was in his hand and the Mayor and Chief 
of Police were at his feet begging for mercy. 

He posted a notice over the county warning every 
Negro and white associate that no further insolence or 
criminality would be tolerated. 

The county and municipal elections was but three days 
off and there was but one ticket on the field. When the 
white men elected were sworn in, the guards went to the 
woods and told the terrified and half-starving Negroes 
they could return to their homes, a competent police 
force was organised, and the volunteer organisation 
disbanded. Negro refugees and their associates once 
more filled the ear of the national government with 
clamour for the return of the army to the South to 
uphold Negro power, but for the first time since 1867 
it fell on deaf ears. The Anglo-Saxon race had been 
reunited. The Negro was no longer the ward of the 
republic. Henceforth, he must stand or fall on his 
own worth and pass under the law of the survival of 
the fittest. 

This event made a tremendous impression on the 
imagination of the people. It increased the popularity 
and power of Gaston, its intended victim. 

The General was more than ever determined to destroy 
Gaston's power in the convention which was to meet in 
a few weeks. He had his candidate for Governor well 
groomed and he had captured the largest number of 
pledged delegates. There were three other candidates, 
but none of them apparently were backed by Gaston. 
The General was puzzled at his methods, and failed to 
discover his programme, though he spent money with 
liberality and exhausted every resource at his command. 

A strange thing had occurred that had upset all 



Another Declaration of Independence 419 

calculations. Beginning at Independence, a race fire 
had broken into resistless fury and was sweeping along 
the line of all the counties on the South Carolina 
border and over the entire state with incredible 
rapidity. Everywhere the white men were arming 
themselves and parading the streets and public roads 
in cavalry order, dressed in scarlet shirts. This Red 
Shirt movement was a spontaneous combustion of 
inflammable racial power that had been accumulating 
for a generation. 

The Democratic Executive Committee was called 
together in haste and made the most frantic efforts to 
stop it. But there was no head to it. It had no organi- 
sation except a local one, and it spread by a spark 
flying from one county to another. 

McLeod laughed at the address of the Democratic 
Committee and swore Gaston was the organiser of the 
movement. He determined to nip it in the bud by 
putting Gaston under a cloud that would destroy his 
influence. He did not dare to attack him for his part 
in the Revolution at Independence. He preferred to 
belittle that affair as a local disturbance. 

But at an election f 3r Congressman to fill a vacancy 
the Democratic candidate had won by a narrow margin 
in a campaign of great bitterness under Gaston's leader- 
ship. 

Charges of fraud were freely made on both sides. 
McLeod determined to utilise these charges, and by 
producing perjured witnesses before a packed court 
place Gaston in jail without bail until the convention 
had met. 

He had every advantage in such a conspiracy. The 
United States judge whom he intended to utilise was a 
creature of his own making, a trickster whose confirma- 
tion had been twice defeated in the Senate by the 



420 The Leopard's Spots 

members of his own party on his shady record. But 
he had won the place at last by hook and crook, and 
McLeod owned him body and soul. 

Accordingly Gaston was arrested with a warrant 
McLeod had obtained from his judge, arraigned before 
him and committed without bail. He was charged with 
a felon)'' under the election laws, taken to Asheville and 
placed in jail. 

The audacity of this arrest and the vehemence with 
which McLeod pressed his charges created a profound 
sensation in the state. It was rumoured that the graver 
charge of murder lay back of the charge of felony and 
would be pressed in due time. A murder had been 
committed in the district during the exciting campaign 
and no clue had ever been found to its perpetrator. 
McLeod knew he had no evidence connecting Gaston 
with this event, but he knew that he had henchmen who 
would swear to anything he told them, and stick to it. 




CHAPTER XI 

THE HEART OF A WOMAN 

WEEK after Gaston's imprisonment Sallie Worth 
arrived in New York from her last trip abroad. 
She had cut her trip short and cabled her father 
of her return. 

She was in an agony of suspense and uncertainty about 
her lover. Gaston's letters had failed to reach her for a 
month by reason of the war which had demoralised the 
mail service. Her own letters had failed to reach 
Gaston for a similar reason. 

The General hastened to New York to meet his wife 
and daughter and persuade Sallie to remain in the North 
until December. He was hopeful now that her long 
absence and Gaston's absorption in politics, his bitter 
opposition to him personally, and the cloud under which 
he rested in prison, would be the final forces that would 
give him the victory in thp long conflict he had waged 
for the mastery of his daugr ter's heart. 

Before informing Sallie of the stirring events at 
Independence and the part Gaston had taken in them, 
or allowing her to learn of his imprisonment, the General 
sought to find the exact state of her mind. 

"I trust, Sallie," he began, "you are recovering from 
your infatuation for this man. You know how dearly 
I love you. I have never taken a step in life since I 
looked into your baby face that wasn't for you and your 
happiness." 

She only looked at him wistfully and her eyes seemed 
to be dreaming. 

421 



422 The Leopard's Spots 



n 



I want you to have some pride. Gaston has 
attempted to kick me out of the councils of the party 
and become the dictator of the state. His course is 
one of violence and radicalism. I regard him as a 
dangerous man, and I want you to have nothing to do 
with him." 

She was gravely silent. 

"Do you believe he has been faithfully dreaming of 
you in your absence?" asked the General. 

"Yes, I do." 

1 ' Then let me disabuse your mind. It is not the way 
of strong men. He is absolutely absorbed in a desperate 
political struggle in which his personal ambitions are 
first. I have seen him paying the most devoted atten- 
tions to the daughter of our rival down east, whose 
influence he wants, and it is rumoured among his- friends 
that he has proposed to her." 

"Who told you that?" she asked, impetuously. 

"I had it first from Allan, but I've heard it since 
from others." 

"I do not believe a word of it," she declared. 

"That's because you're a woman and hold such silly 
ideals. I tell you he wants you only because he knows 
you are rich, and he wishe. to browbeat me. Such a 
man will try to whip you before you have been his wife 
five years, I know that kind of man. Why can't you 
trust my judgment?" 

"I had rather trust my heart's intuitions, Papa. I 
cannot be deceived in such a question." 

"Well, you are being deceived. He is anything but 
a languishing lover. At present he is a political tiger at 
bay. Unless you hold him to you by some pledge he 
has given, he will forget you and marry another in two 
years. I am a man and I know mem I thought I was 
desperately in love twice before I met your mofier. I 



The Heart of a Woman 423 

got over both attacks without a scratch, fell in love with 
her, married, and have lived happily ever since. You 
have overestimated your own importance to him and 
your influence over him." 

A great fear awed her into silence. For the first time 
in all her struggle with her father the sense suddenly 
came into her heart of her dependence on Gaston's love 
for the very desire to live, and for the first time she 
realised the possibility of losing him. What if he 
should press his great ambitions to successful issue 
while she stood irresolute and tortured him with her 
indecision? If he could win the world's applause 
without her, might he not when successful, cease to 
need her ? Her breast heaved with the tumult of uncer- 
tainty. What if another woman saw and loved him, 
and drew near to him in his hours of soul loneliness 
and struggle, and he had learned to see her face with 
joy ! The conviction came crushing upon her that 
she had not responded bravely to this powerful man's 
singular devotion into which he had poured without 
reserve his deepest passion. Had he weighed her and 
found her wanting in some dark hour in her absence? 
Her heart was in her throat at the thought. 

The General watched her keenly for several moments, 
and thought at last he had broken the spell. He 
believed he could now tell her of the cloud that hung 
over Gaston. 

"I said, Sallie, that I believed Gaston a dangerous 
man. I did not speak lightly. We have had terrible 
riots in Independence while you were absent in which 
Gaston was the leader of an armed revolution which 
overturned the city and county government. Two 
thousand men were under arms for a week and several 
were killed and wounded on both sides. The results 
were good as a whole, I confess. We have a decent 



424 The Leopard's Spots 

government and we have security of property and life, 
but such methods will lead to civil war." 

Her face grew tense, and she looked at her father with 
breathless interest during this recital. 

"Was he in danger in those riots?" she slowly 
asked. 

"Yes, and I expect him to be killed at an early day 
if he „ continues his present methods. A mob of five 
hundred Negroes attempted to kill him. This was one 
of the causes that led to the revolution." 

She was on her feet now, pale and trembling with 
excitement. 

"Where is he?" she gasred. 

"Now, my dear, it's useless to get excited. The 
trouble is all over and a new mayor and police force are 
in charge of the city. But he is resting under a serious 
cloud at present. He is held in jail at Asheville on a 
charge of felony, and a charge of murder is being 
pressed." 

" In jail ! In jail ! " she cried, incredulously, while her 
eyes filled with tears. 

"Yes; and Allan believes these ugly charges will be 
proved in the United States court and he will be 
convicted." 

She did not seem to hear the last sentence. 

"In jail!" she repeated, "my lover, to whom I have 
given my life, and you, my father, while I was three 
thousand miles away, stood by and did not lift a hand 
to help him?" 

"Has he not been my bitterest enemy, seeking to 
insult me!" thundered the General. 

" No ! He never insulted you or spoke one unkind 
word about you in his life. Oh, this is shameful ! God 
forgive me that I was not here I " Tears were streaming 
down her face. 



The Heart of a Woman 425 

"You hold me responsible for the crazy young scamp's 
career?" cried the General, indignantly. 

"Not another word to me!" she exclaimed. "You 
shall not abuse him in my presence." 

The General was afraid of her when she used the tone 
of voice in which she uttered that sentence. Ke had 
heard it but once before, and that was when she told him 
she was a free woman, twenty-one years old, and he had 
broken down. He looked at her now, fearing to speak. 
At length he said: 

"I have engaged a suite of rooms for you here, my 
dear, for the winter. I hope you will enjoy the season. 
Let us change this painful subject." 

"I do riot want the rooms," she firmly replied ; "I am 
going to Asheville on the first train." 

The General stormed and raged for an hour, but she 
made no reply. Her mother was suffering from the 
effects of the voyage and took no part in this storm. 

11 But your mother will not be able to accompany you. 
Surely you will not disgrace me by visiting that man 
in jail!" 

"I will. And when he is released I will return. I 
will visit Stella Holt. I shall have ample protection." 

The General was afraid . o oppose her in this dangerous 
mood, and begged her mother to try to prevent her 
going. Sallie sent Gaston a telegram that she was 
coming. 

In obedience to the General's request, her mother 
called her into her room that night and they had a long 
talk and cry in each other's arms. 

Mrs. Worth did not try very hard to persuade her 
not to go. Down in her own woman's soul she knew 
what she would do under similar conditions, and she 
was too honest with her child to try to deceive her. 
She only made love to her mother-fashion. 



426 The Leopard's Spots 

"Oh! Mamma/' cried Sallie, burying her face beside 
her mother as she lay in bed. ' ' I am at a great soul crisis. 
I don't know what to do. I feel lonely, helpless and 
heartsick. You are a woman. Put your dear arms 
about me and help me to know the truth and my duty. 
I want to ask you a question." 

"What is it, darling? I'll answer it if I can," she 
replied, stroking her dark hair tenderly. 

"Do you believe these stories about Charlie's char- 
acter?" 

"Not one word of them!" she promptly answered. 
An impulsive kiss and a sob. 

"Dear Mother!" she said, in a low, tearful voice. 
"And now one more. Papa has been dinning into my 
ears his own fickleness in love when young and the 
fact that he knows in a long life that love is of little 
importance in a man's existence. He says that I can 
forget and love again with equal intensity and better 
judgment. Can one treat thus lightly the soul's deepest 
instincts and still find life rich and worthy of effort?" 

Her voice broke, and she continued slowly and 
tremblingly, as she held one of her mother's hands 
tightly ' 

"Now, Mamma, dear, hear' co heart, tell me as you 
would talk in your inmost soul to God, do you believe 
this is true? You have sounded life's deep meaning. 
Is this all you know of life? You love me. Tell me 
truly?" 

"No, darling; a woman cannot deny this deep yearn- 
ing of her soul and live. I would tear my tongue out 
sooner than deceive you in such an hour." 

"Sweet Mother!" she softly murmured again as she 
kissed her good-night. 



CHAPTER XII 
THE SPLENDOUR OF SHAMELESS LOVE 

WHEN Gaston received her telegram in jail he 
was seated by a window looking out through 
the bars on Mt. Pisgah's distant peak loom- 
ing in grandeur amid a sea of smaller blue mountain 
waves. He read the message and his soul was rilled 
with a great peace. 

"At last! These prison bars, they are good. I 
could kiss them. I can never be grateful enough to 
my enemies." 

He had taken his prison as a joke from the first, 
sneering at the judge who had committed him. He 
knew that every day he stayed in that jail he was 
becoming more and more the master of the people. If 
McLeod had tried he could not have played into his 
hands with more fatal certainty. Five hundred citizens 
of Independence had wired him their congratulations 
and offered him any assistance he desired, from unlimited 
money for defense to a delegation to tear the jail down. 

He declined any assistance. He knew the storm 
would break over their heads soon enough, and they 
would be delighted to get rid of him . In the meantime 
he gave himself up to his thoughts about the woman 
he loved, and wondered what change had suddenly 
come over her to send him that message. He felt sure 
the great crisis in their life had come. What would it 
be ? A sorrowful surrender on her part to her father's 
iron will and a tearful good-by forever, or the full 

427 



428 The Leopard's Spots 

surrender of her woman's soul and body to the dominion 
of his love? 

He was glad the hour had struck that should decide. 
He trembled at the import of her answer, but he was 
ready to receive it. 

A carriage rolled into the jail enclosure and two 
young ladies alighted. One of them stopped in the 
sitting-room for visitors, and he heard the tramp of a 
man's heavy feet on the stairs, and after it the tread 
of a woman like a soft echo. 

The key grated in the lock; the door opened. She 
looked into his eyes for just an instant of searching 
soul revelation, saw the yearning and the grateful tears, 
and with a glad cry sprang into his arms. 

"You do love me !" she passionately cried. 

"Love you? I drew you back across the sea with 
my love. I knew you would come. I willed it with a 
power you couldn't resist." 

"I never got your letters, and I was hungry to see 
you," she whispered. 

"And I never got yours, and drew you back by the 
power of a great heart purpose." 

"Forgive me, for being away from you when you 
were in danger." 

"I was glad you were safe. Don't let this jail alarm 
you. I'll be out too soon for my good, I'm afraid." 

"No other woman has come into your heart to cheer 
it, even with her friendship, since I've been away, has 
she?" 

"What a silly question. I've never looked at any 
other woman since the day I first saw you." 

"Tell me you love me again !" 

"I — love — you, unto the uttermost, in life, in death, 
forever!" he whispered, tenderly. 

She sighed and smiled. "The sweetest music the 



The Splendour of Shameless Love 429 

ear of a woman ever heard!" she half laughed, half 
cried. 

"Now, my dear, you are a full-grown woman in the 
beauty of a perfect womanhood. For five years and 
more, I have waited and suffered. My life is an open 
book before you. When are you going to end this 
suspense ? You must decide now whether your father's 
will shall rule your life or my love." 

" Must I decide to-day? " she asked, tremblingly. 

"Yes," he answered. "It is not fair to torture me 
longer. ' ' 

"Then I give up!" she tearfully exclaimed. "God 
forgive me if I am doing wrong ! I cannot resist you 
longer. I do not desire to — I will not. I am all yours, 
forever — soul, body, will, honour, life — all. I cannot 
live without you. I love you. / love you! Kiss me ! 
Again — Ah, your lips are sweeter than honey ! Am 
I bold to say it? I do not care, I am yours. Your 
arms are the bonds of my slavery, and they are sweet." 

Gaston was trembling with the joy that flooded his 
being with these the first words of perfect faith and 
submissive love that had come from her lips. And he 
winced at the memory now of those hours of dissipation 
when he had doubted her. He tried to confess it and 
receive her absolution. 

"My dear, my joy is too great. It is pain, as well 
as joy. In the dark days of our first year of separation 
I thought once you had forgotten me. I went away 
into two weeks of debauchery. Your perfect love 
crushes me with its beauty and purity. I must confess 
this wrong to you, I must not deceive you in the 
smallest thing in this hour." 

She placed her hand over his lips. "I will not hear it. 
I ought to have been braver and fought for my rights 
and yours. I will not hear one word of humiliation 



43° The Leopard's Spots 

from you. I love you. You are my king. I love you, 
good or bad. I would love you if you were a murderer 
on the gallows. I cannot help it. I do not wish to 
help it. I will follow you to the bottomless pit or to the 
throne of God and say it without fear to devil or angel. 
Kiss me again ! There, do not cry. Let me see your 
beautiful brown eyes. I'll kiss the tears away. Tears 
are for my eyes, not yours." 

"Then you will fix the day, dear?" he softly urged. 

"How soon would you like it?" 

"The sooner the better." 

"Then I fix to-day," she said, impulsively. 

"What, here, in this jail?" 

"Yes. Where you are is heaven to me. I haven't 
noticed the jail," she said, soberly. 

He looked at her a moment, strained her to his heart 
and brushed the tears of joy from his eyes. 

"My beautiful queen ! This hour is worth every pain 
and every throb of anguish I have suffered. Its memory 
will encompass life with a great light." 

"I'll go with Stella, see Doctor Durham, who is here 
looking after your case, have him get the license, and 
we will be back in half an hour." 

The Preacher greeted her with delight. "Ah! Misc* 
Sallie, if I had known a little thing like this would havt? 
brought you back, I would have hired a jail for him 
long ago and put him in it." 

"Doctor, I want you to get the license and marry ug 
now. Will you do it ? " 

"Will I? Just watch me. I'll have the documents 
and be ready for the ceremony in fifteen minutes!" 
cried the Preacher, as he hurried to the office of the 
Register of Deeds. 

Sallie ran up to Mrs. Durham's room, told her, an6 
asked her to be one of the witnesses. 



The Splendour of Shameless Love 431 

'■ Of course I will, Sallie. You are the one girl in the 
world I have always wanted Charlie to marry." 

Sallie slipped her arm around Mrs. Durham. "You 
don't think I am doing wrong to disobey my parents 
thus, do you ? " she faltered. "I feel just for a moment, 
now that I have decided, bruised and homesick — I want 
my mother. Let me feel your arms about my neck just 
once. You are a woman. You love me as well as Charlie ; 
tell me, am I doing wrong? " 

Mrs. Durham kissed her. " I do love you child. It is 
a solemn hour for your soul. You alone can decide such 
a question. Any intrusion of advice in such a trial would 
be a sacrilege. Under ordinary conditions it would be a 
dangerous thing for a girl thus to leave her father's 
roof and take this step that will decide forever her 
destiny. Marriage is something that swallows up life, 
the past, the present, the future. We seem to have 
never known anything else. I can only say, if I were 
in your place, knowing all, I would do as your are 
doing." 

Sallie impulsively kissed her, bit her lips to keep back 
a tear, and held her hand. 

"I know your father well," she continued. "He is a 
man I greatly admire. But he is unreasonable with any 
one who dares to cross his will. You could never get 
his consent now that his pride is aroused except by 
forcing it. When it is over, he will forgive you, 
and when he knows your lover as I know him he 
will be as proud of his son-in-law as a peacock of his 
plumage." 

" It is sweet to hear just the advice one wishes in such 
an hour," cried Sallie. "I shall always love you for 
these words." 

"Yes, I congratulate you on the end of your long hesi- 
tation. I know you will be happy. Any woman would 



43 2 The Leopard's Spots 

be happy with the love of such a man, and he was made 
for you." 

"Then you don't believe with Papa," she said, with 
a smile, "that his mouth is cruel, and that he will try 
to whip me in five years, do you? " 

Mrs. Durham laughed. "Yes, he will whip you, but 
they will be love licks and you will cry for more. Your 
lover is a rare and brilliant man. He is strong, rugged, 
resistless in will, fierce in his passions from the blood 
of sunny France in his veins, and masterful in life from 
the iron heritage of the hardier races. You have seen 
these traits. Wait until you know him as I do in his 
daily life, and you will find a wealth of patience and a 
depth of tenderness that will startle. I envy you." 

"Thank you," Sallie interrupted. "You don't know 
how glad your words are to my heart. I've not seen 
much of that trait yet. I've been half afraid of him 
sometimes. Let me kiss you again." 

The keeper of the jail treated Gaston with every con- 
sideration and arranged for the marriage to take place 
in the little sitting-room, where he allowed him to come 
on parole. 

The bride wore a plain travelling dress in which she 
had come from New York. She had driven from the 
depot past Stella Holt's home, and with her straight to 
the jail. 

Gaston thought her the fairest vision that ever greeted 
the eye of man as he stood by her side; for he had seen 
that day the soul of a radiantly beautiful woman in the 
splendour of shameless love. His own soul was drunk 
with the joy of it all, and his eyes now devoured her 
with their intense light. 

Standing there before the Preacher whom he loved as 
his father, and the foster mother who had wrapped his 
little shivering body in the warmth of a great heart that 



The Splendour of Shameless Love 433 

night the light of life went out in his own mother's room, 
with Stella Holt's sympathetic face reflecting her friend's 
happiness, the marriage ceremony was performed. He 
took Sallie's trembling hand in his and promised to love, 
honour and cherish her as long as life endured. And 
under his breath he added, ''Here and hereafter — for- 
ever." And then she looked into his smiling face with 
her blue eyes full of unspeakable love, and in a voice 
low and soft as the note of a flute gave to him her life. 

And the Preacher said, "What God hath joined 
together, let not man put asunder." 

She stayed there with him until the gathering 
twilight. 

"Now I must huny back to my father and win him. I 
will not come to you a beggar. My father shall not dis- 
inherit me. I am going to bring you my fortune, too." 

"Oh, curse that fortune, dear! I've feared it was 
that keeping us apart so long." 

"Don't curse it. I like it, and I am going to win it 
for you. You are a man of genius, Your success is as 
sure as if it were already won. I will not come to you a 
helpless pauper. I have never been taught to do any- 
thing. I should like tG cook for yon if I knew how, and 
I am going to learn how. I am going to make you the 
most beautiful home that the heart of a woman can 
dream. I'd rob the world for treasure for it. I am 
going to rob my dear old father. He has sworn to 
disinherit me if I marry without his consent. He shall 
not do it." 

"Then don't be long about it. You are my treasure. 
I can build you a snug little nest at Hambright." 

" I will only ask four weeks. Now do what I tell you. 
Sit down and write Papa a letter telling him I am your 
affianced bride and ask his consent to the celebration of 
our marriage within three weeks. That will produce an 



434 The Leopard's Spots 

earthquake, and something will surely happen within 
four weeks." 

He wrote the letter, and she looked over his shoulder. 

"You see, dear," she said, as she kissed him good-by, 
"I love Papa so tenderly. You can't understand how 
close the tie is between us ; perhaps some day in our own 
home of which I'm dreaming you may understand as you 
cannot now," she added, softly. 

"Then for your sake, dearest, I hope you can win 
him. But I'm afraid of this plan of yours." 

"Leave it with me for a month, do just as I tell you, 
and then I'll obey you all the rest of our lives — if your 
orders suit me," she playfully added. 

She returned to Stella Holt's, and Gaston went back to 
his jail room and dreamed that night he was sleeping in 
the Governor's Palace. 



CHAPTER XIII 
A SPEECH THAT MADE HISTORY 

WHEN General Worth received Gaston's brief 
and startling letter the wires were hot be- 
tween New York and Asheville for hours. 
His last message was a peremptory command to his 
daughter to join him immediately at Independence. 

When Sallie arrived at Oakwood the General was 
already there, and the storm broke in all its fury. At 
every bitter word she only quietly smiled, until the 
General was on the verge of collapse. Day after day 
he begged, pleaded, raged and finally took to hard 
swearing as he looked into her calm, happy face. 

In the meantime, McLeod and his henchman on the 
judge's bench had seen a new light. The excitement over 
the arrest of Gaston seemed to have fanned the flames of 
the Red Shirt movement into a conflagration. He was 
alarmed at its meaning. The judge heard a rumour that 
five thousand Red Shirts were mobilising at the foot of 
the Blue Ridge near Hambright, and that they were 
going to march across the mountains into Asheville, 
demolish the jail, liberate Gaston, and hang the judge 
who had committed him without bail. 

The rumour was a fake, but he was not taking any 
chances. He issued an order releasing Gaston on his 
own recognisance, and left for a vacation. 

Gaston returned to Hambright showered with con- 
gratulatory telegrams from every quarter of the state. 

He received a brief note from Sallie saying the war 

435 



43 6 The Leopard's vSpots 

was on but had not reached its final climax, as the 
General was now devoting his best energies to the 
Democratic convention which was to meet in ten 
days, when he expected to crush any "fool movement 
of young upstarts ! " 

Gaston knew of his organisation, but he was sure the 
number of delegates pledged to the General's machine 
was not enough to dominate the body, even if he could 
hold them in line. 

When this convention met at Raleigh, no body of 
representative men were ever more completely at sea as 
to the platform or policy upon which they would appeal 
to the people for the overthrow of an enemy. The coali- 
tion that conquered the state and held it with the grip of 
steel for four years was stronger than ever and was 
absolutely certain of victory. The enormous patronage 
of the Federal Government had been in their hands for 
four years, and with the state, county and municipal 
officers, a host of powerful leaders had been gathered 
around McLeod's daring personality. Apparently 
he was about to fasten the rule of the Negro and his 
allies on the state for a generation. 

When Gaston entered the convention hall he received 
an ovation, heartfelt and generous, but it did not reach 
the point of a disturbing element in the calculations of 
the three or four prominent candidates for Governor. 
General Worth had drilled his cohorts so thoroughly 
in opposition to him that any sort of stampeding was 
out of the question. 

The platform committee was composed of seven 
leaders, among whom was Gaston. There was a long 
wrangle over the document, and at length when they 
reported a sensation was created. For the first time 
since their triumph over Simon Legree the committee 
was divided, and, refusing to agree, submitted majority 



A Speech that Made History 437 

and minority reports. The committee stood five for 
the majority and two for the minority. 

Gaston and a daring young politician from the heart 
of the Black Belt signed the minority report. The 
majority report as submitted was merely a rehash of 
the old platform on which they had been defeated by 
McLeod twice, with slight additional impeachment of 
the incapacity and corruption of the State administra- 
tion. The delegates from the Black Belt and the coun- 
ties where the Red Shirts had been holding their parades 
received it with silence. General Worth's machine 
cheered it vigorously, and gave a rousing reception to 
their chosen champion who made the presentation speech. 
When Gaston rose to offer and defend his minority 
report, a sudden hush fell on the sea of eager faces. 
A few men in the convention had heard him speak. All 
had heard he was an orator of power, and were anxious 
to see him. His leadership in the revolution of Inde- 
pendence and his subsequent arrest and imprisonment 
had made him a famous man. 

"Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Convention," 
he began with a deliberate clear voice which spoke of 
greater reserve power than the words he uttered con- 
veyed — "I move to substitute for this document of 
meaningless platitudes the following resolution on which 
to make this campaign." 

You could have heard a pin fall, as in ringing tones 
like the call of a bugle to battle he read : 
M Whereas, it is impossible to build a state inside a 

state of two antagonistic races; and, 
"Whereas, the future North Carolinian must therefore 

be an Anglo-Saxon or a Mulatto, 
"Resolved, that the hour has now come in our history to 
eliminate the Negro from our life and reestab- 
lish for all time the government of our fathers." 



438 The Leopard's Spots 

The delegates from New Hanover, Craven and Hali- 
fax counties, the great centers of the Black Belt, sprang 
on their seats with a roar of applause that shook the 
building, and pandemonium broke loose. When one 
great wave subsided another followed. It was ten 
minutes before order was restored, while Gaston stood 
calmly surveying the storm. 

Just before him sat General Worth, pale and trem- 
bling with excitement. The audacity of those resolutions 
had swept him for a moment off his feet and back into 
the years of his own daring young manhood. He 
could not help admiring this challenge of the modern 
world to stand at the bar of elemental manhood and 
make good its right to existence. He was about to 
summon his messengers and rally his lieutenants when 
Gaston began to speak, and his first words chained his 
attention. 

While the tumult raised by his resolutions was in prog- 
ress Gaston lifted his eyes toward the gallery, and there 
just above him where it curved toward the platform 
sat his beautiful secret bride. His heart leaped. Her 
face was aflame with emotion, her eyes flashing with 
love and pride. She slyly touched with her lips the tip 
of her finger and blew a kiss across the intervening 
space. He smiled into her soul a look of gratitude, 
and with every nerve strung to its highest tension 
resumed his place by the speakers' stand. When the 
tumult died away he began a speech that fixed the 
history of the state for a thousand years. 

His resolutions had wrought the crowd to the highest 
pitch of excitement, and his words, clear, penetrating 
and deliberate, thrilled his hearers with electrical power. 

" Gentlemen," he said, and the .slightest whisper was 
hushed, "the history of man is a series of great pulse- 
beats, whose flood overwhelms his future and fixes its 



A Speech that Made History 439 

life. Like the dammed torrent on a mountainside, it 
breaks the conservatism that holds it stagnant for 
generations and floods the world with its sweep. 
Theories, creeds and institutions hallowed by age 
are cast as rubbish on the scarred hills that mark its 
course. The old world is buried and a new one appears. 

"The Anglo-Saxon is entering the new century with 
the imperial crown of the ages on his brow and the 
scepter of the infinite in his hands. 

"The Old South fought against the stars in their 
courses — the resistless tide of the rising consciousness 
of Nationality and World-Mission. The young South 
greets the new era and glories in its manhood. He 
joins his voice in the cheers of triumph which are usher- 
ing in this all-conquering Saxon. Our old men dreamed 
of local supremacy. We dream of the conquest of the 
globe. Threads of steel have knit state to state. Steam 
and electricity have silently transformed the face of 
the earth, annihilated time and space, and swept the 
ocean barriers from the path of man. The black 
steam shuttles of commerce have woven continent to 
continent. 

"We believe that God has raised up our race, as he 
ordained Israel of old, in this world-crisis to establish 
and maintain for weaker races, as a trust for civilisa- 
tion, the principles of civil and religious Liberty and 
the forms of Constitutional Government. 

"In this hour of crisis, our flag has been raised over 
ten millions of semi-barbaric black men in the foulest 
slave pen of the Orient. Shall we repeat the farce of 
'67, reverse the order of nature, and make these black 
people our rulers? If not, why should the African 
here, who is not their equal,- be allowed to imperil 
our life? " 

A whirlwind of applause shook the building. 



440 The Leopard's Spots 

"A crisis approaches in the history of the human 
race. The world is stirred by its consciousness to-day. 
The nation must gird up her loins and show her right 
to live — to master the future or be mastered in 
the struggle. New questions press upon us for 
solution. 

"Shall this grand old commonwealth lag behind and 
sink into the filth and degradation of a Negroid corrup- 
tion in this solemn hour of the world ? ' ' 

"Nc ! No ! " screamed a thousand voices. 

"What is our condition to-day in the dawn of the 
twentieth century t If we attempt to move forward 
we are literally chained to the body of a festering Black 
Death ! 

' ' Fifty of our great counties are again under the heel 
of the Negro, and the state is in his clutches. Our city 
governments are debauched by his vote. His insolence 
threatens our womanhood, and our children are beaten 
by Negro toughs on the way to school, while we pay 
his taxes. Shall we longer tolerate Negro inspectors 
of white schools and Negroes in charge of white insti- 
tutions? Shall we longer tolerate the arrest of white 
women by Negro officers and their trial before Negro 
magistrates ? 

"Let the manhood of the Aryan race, with its four 
thousand years of authentic history, answer that 
question ! ' ' 

With blazing eyes, and voice that rang with the deep 
peal of defiant power, Gaston hurled that sentence 
like a thunderbolt into the souls of his thousand hear- 
ers. The surging host sprang to their feet and shouted 
back an answer that made the earth tremble. 

Lifting his hand for silence he continued : 

"It is no longer a question of bad government. It 
is a question of impossible government. We lag behind 



A Speech that Made History 441 

the age, dragging the decaying corpse to which we are 
chained. 

"Who shall deliver us from the body of this death? 

"Hear me, men of my race, Norman and Celt, Angle 
and Saxon, Dane and Frank, Huguenot and German 
martyr blood ! 

"The hour has struck when we must rise in our 
might, break the chains that bind us to this corruption, 
strike down the Negro as a ruling power, and restore to 
our children their birthright, which we received, a price- 
less legacy, from our fathers. 

"I believe in God's call to our race to do His work 
in history. What other races failed to do, you wrought 
in this continental wilderness, fighting pestilence, 
hunger, cold, wild beasts and savage hordes, until 
out of it all has grown the mightiest nation of the earth. 

"Is the Negro worthy to rule over you? 

"Ask history. The African has held one-fourth of 
this globe for 3,000 years. He has never taken one step 
in progress or rescued one jungle from the ape and the 
adder, except as the slave of a superior race. 

u In Hayti and San Domingo he rose in servile insur- 
rection and butchered fifty thousand white men, women 
and children a hundred years ago. He has ruled these 
beautiful islands since. Did he make progress with the 
example of Aryan civilisation before him? No. But 
yesterday we received reports of the discovery of 
cannibalism in Hayti. 

He has had one hundred years of trial in the north- 
ern states of this Union with every facility of culture 
and progress, and he has not produced one man who 
has added a feather's weight to the progress of humanity. 
In an hour of madness the dominion of the ten great 
states of the South was given him without a struggle. 
A saturnalia of infamy followed. 



442 The Leopard's Spots 

"Shall we return to this? You must answer. The 
corruption of his presence in our body politic is beyond 
the power of reckoning. We drove the Carpet-bagger 
from our midst, but the Scalawag, our native product, 
is always with us to fatten on the corruption and breed 
death to society. The Carpet-bagger was a wolf, the 
Scalawag is a hyena. The one was a highwayman, 
the other a sneak. 

"So long as the Negro is a factor in our political 
life will violence and corruption stain our history. 
We cannot afford longer to play with violence. We 
must remove the cause. 

"Suffrage in America has touched the lowest tide- 
mud of degradation. If our cities and our Southern 
civilisation are to be preserved, there must be a return 
to the sanity of the founders of this republic. 

"A government of the wealth, virtue and intelligence 
of the community by the debased and the criminal is 
a relapse to elemental barbarism to which no race of 
freemen can submit. 

"Shall the future North Carolinian be an Anglo- 
Saxon or a Mulatto ? That is the question before you. 

"Nations are made by men, not by paper constitu- 
tions and paper ballots. We are not free because we 
have a Constitution. We have a Constitution because 
our pioneer fathers, who cleared the wilderness and dared 
the might of kings, were freemen. It was in their 
blood, the tutelage of generation on generation beyond 
the seas, the evolution of centuries of struggle and 
sacrifice. 

"If you can make men out of paper, then it is pos- 
sible with a scratch of a pen in the hand of a madman 
to transform by magic a million slaves into a million 
kings. 

"We grant the Negro the right to life, liberty and the 



A Speech that Made History 443 

pursuit of happiness if he can be happy without exer- 
cising kingship over the Anglo-Saxon race or dragging 
us down to his level. But if he cannot find happiness 
except in lording it over a superior race, let him look 
for another world in which to rule. There is not room 
for both of us on this continent." 

Again and again Gaston raised his hand to still the 
mad tumult of applause his words evoked. 

"And we will fight it out on this line, if it takes 
a hundred years, two hundred, five hundred, or a thou- 
sand. It took Spain eight hundred years to expel the 
Moors. When the time comes the Anglo-Saxon can do 
in one century what the Spaniard did in eight. 

"We have been congratulated on our self-restraint 
under the awful provocation of the past four years. 
There is a limit beyond which we dare not go, for at 
this point self-restraint becomes pusillanimous and 
means the loss of manhood." 

He then reviewed with thrilling power the history of 
the state and the proud part played in the development 
of the republic. He showed how this border wilder- 
ness of North Carolina became the cradle of American 
Democracy and the typical commonwealth of freemen. 

He played with the heart-strings of his hearers in 
this close personal history as a great master touches the 
strings of a harp. His voice was now low and quiver- 
ing with the music of passion, and then soft and caress- 
ing. He would swing them from laughter to tears in 
a single sentence, and in the next the lightning flash 
of a fierce invective drove into their hearts its keen 
blade so suddenly the vast crowd started as one man 
and winced at its power. 

Through it all he was conscious of two blue eyes 
swimming in tears looking down on him from the 
gallery. 



444 The Leopard's Spots 

The crowd now had grown so entranced, and the 
torrent of his speech so rapid, they forgot to cheer 
and feared to cheer lest they should lose a word of the 
next sentence. They hung breathless on every flash 
of feeling from his face or eloquent gesture. 

"I am not talking of a vague theory of constructive 
dominion," he continued, "when I refer to the Negro 
supremacy under which our civilisation is being 
degraded. I use words in their plain meaning. 
Negro supremacy means the rule of a party in 
which negroes predominate, and that means a Negro 
oligarchy. 

"I call your attention to one typical county of more 
than forty thus degraded, the county of Craven, whose 
quaint old city was once the capital of this common- 
wealth. What are the facts ? The Negro office-holders 
of Craven County include a Congressman, a member of 
the Legislature, a Register of Deeds, the City Attorney, 
the Coroner, two Deputy Sheriffs, two County Commis- 
sioners, a member of the School Board, three Road Over- 
seers, four Constables, twenty-seven Magistrates, three 
City Aldermen and four policemen. There are sixty-two 
Negro officials in this county of 12,000 inhabitants, and 
their member of the Legislature is a convicted felon. The 
white people represent ninety-five per cent, of the wealth 
and intelligence of the community and pay ninety- 
five per cent, of its taxes, and are voiceless in its 
government. 

"Would a county in Massachusetts submit to such 
infamy? No. There is not a county in the North 
from Maine to California that would submit to it twenty- 
four hours. Will the children of Lexington, Concord 
and Bunker Hill demand such submission from the 
children of Washington and Jefferson? No. The pas- 
sions that obscured reason have subsided. The Anglo- 



A Speech that Made History 445 

Saxon race is united and has entered upon its world 
mission. 

"We will take from an unprofitable servant the ballot 
he has abused. To him that hath shall be given, and 
from him that hath not shall be taken away even that 
which he hath. It is the law of nature. It is the law 
of God. 

"Yes, I confess it," he continued; "I am in a sense 
narrow and provincial. I love mine own people. 
Their past is mine, their present mine ; their future is 
a divine trust. I hate the dish-water of modern world 
citizenship. 

" A shallow cosmopolitanism is the mask of death 
for the individual. It is the froth of civilisation, as 
crime is its dregs. Race and race pride are the ordi- 
nances of life. The true citizen of the world loves his 
country. His country is a part of God's world. 

"So I confess I love my people. I love the South — 
the stolid, silent South, that for a generation has sneered 
at paper-made politics and scorned public opinion. 
The South, old-fashioned, medieval, provincial, wor- 
shipping the dead, and raising men rather than making 
money, family-loving, home-building, tradition-ridden. 
The South, cruel and cunning when fighting a treach- 
erous foe, with brief, volcanic bursts of wrath and 
vengeance. The South, eloquent, bombastic, romantic, 
chivalrous, lustful, proud, kind and hospitable. The 
South, with her beautiful women and brave men. The 
South, generous and reckless, never knowing her own 
interest, but living her own life in her own way — yes, 
I love her ! In my soul are all her sins and virtues. 
And with it all she is worthy to live. 

"The historian tells us that all things pass in time. 
Wolves whelp and stable in the palaces of dead kings 
and forgotten civilisation. Memphis, Thebes and Baby- 



446 The Leopard's Spots 

Ion are but names to-day. So New Orleans and New 
York may perish. African antiquarians may explore 
their ruins and speculate upon their life; but we may 
safely fix upon a thousand centuries of intervening 
time. On your shoulders now rests the burden of civili- 
sation. We must face its responsibilities. For my 
part I believe in your future. 

"The courage of the Celt, the nobility of the Nor- 
man, the vigour of the Viking, the energy of the Angle, 
the tenacity of the Saxon, the daring of the Dane, 
the gallantry of the Gaul, the freedom of the Frank, 
the earth-hunger of the Roman and the stoicism of the 
Spartan, are all yours by the lineal heritage of blood, 
from sire and dame, through hundreds of generations 
and through centuries of culture. 

"Will you halt now and surrender to a mob of ragged 
Negroes led by white cowards who at the first clash of 
conflict will hide in sewers ? 

"I ask you, my people, freemen, North Carolinians, 
to rise to-day and make good your right to live ! The 
time for platitudes is past. Let us as men face the 
world and say what we mean. 

"This is a white man's government, conceived by 
white men, and maintained by white men through 
every year of its history — and by the God of our fathers 
it shall be ruled by white men until the archangel shall 
call the end of time ! 

"If this be treason, let them that hear it make the 
most of it. 

"From the eighth day of November we will not submit 
to Negro dominion another day, another hour, another 
moment. Back of every ballot is a bayonet, and the 
red blood of the man who holds it. Let cowards hear 
and remember this. Man has never yet voted away 
his right to a revolution. 



A Speech that Made History 447 

"Citizen kings, I call you to the consciousness of 
your kingship." 

Gaston closed and turned toward his seat, while the 
crowd hung breathless, waiting for his next word. 
When they realised that he had finished, a rumble like 
the crash in midheaven of two storms rolled over the 
surging sea of men, and broke against the girders of the 
roof like the thunder of the Hatteras surf lashed by a 
hurricane. Two thousand men went mad. With one 
common impulse they sprang to their feet, screaming, 
shouting, cheering, shaking each others' hands, crying 
and laughing. With the sullen roar of crashing thunder 
another whirlwind of cheers swept the crowd, shook 
the earth, and pierced the sky with its challenge. Wave 
after wave of applause swept the building and flung 
their rumbling echoes among the stars. These patient, 
kindly people, slow to anger, now terrible in wrath, were 
trembling with the pent-up passion and fury of years. 
1 What power could resist their wrath ! 

Through it all Gaston sat silent behind the group of 
the majority of the platform committee, with eyes 
devouring a beautiful face bending toward him from 
the gallery. She was softly weeping with love and pride 
too deep for words. 

While the tumult was still raging, before he was con- 
scious of his presence, General Worth's stalwart figure 
was bending over him and grasping his hand. 

"My boy, I give it up. You have beaten me. I'm 
proud of you. I forgive everything for that speech. 
You can have my girl. The date you've fixed for the 
marriage suits me. Let us forget the past." 

Gaston pressed his hand, muttering brokenly his 
thanks, and his soul sank within him at the thought 
of this proud old iron-willed warrior's anger if he 
discovered their secret marriage. 



448 The Leopard's Spots 

The General turned toward the side of the platform; 
for he had seen the flash of Sallie's dress on the stairs 
of the balcony leading to the stage. He knew her keen 
eye had seen his surrender, and his heart was hungry 
for the kiss of reconciliation that would restore their 
old. perfect love. 

He met her at the foot of the stairs and she threw 
her arms impulsively around his neck. 

"Oh, Papa, dear! I am the happiest girl in the 
world. The two men of all men — the only two I love — 
are mine forever ! ' ' 

While the applause was still echoing and reechoing 
over the sea of surging men, and thousands of excited 
people were crowding the windows from the outside 
and blocking the streets in every direction clamouring 
for admittance, a tall man with gray beard and sten- 
torian voice sprang on the platform. It was General 
Worth's candidate for Governor. He had not consulted 
the General, but he had a motion to make. The crowd 
was stilled and his voice rang through the building: 

"Gentlemen, I move that the minority report offered 
by Charles Gaston" — again a thunder-peal of applause 
— "be adopted as the platform by acclamation ! " 

A storm of "ayes" burst from the throats of the 
delegates in a single breath like the crash of an 
explosion of dynamite. 

"And now that our eyes have seen the glory of the 
Lord, as we heard His messenger anointed to lead 
His people, I move that this convention nominate by 
acclamation for Governor — Charles Gaston!" 

Again two thousand men were on their feet shouting, 
cheering, shaking hands, hugging one another and 
weeping and yelling like maniacs. 

A speech had been made that changed the current of 
history and fixed the status of life for millions of people. 



CHAPTER XIV 
THE RED SHIRTS 

AS soon as Gaston could leave the throngs of friends 
who were congratulating him on his remarkable 
speech and his certainty of election he hastened 
to find Sallie. 

"My lover, my king!" she cried impulsively, as he 
clasped her in his arms. 

"Your eyes kindled the fire in my soul and gave me 
the power to mould that crowd to my will," he softly 
told her. 

"It is sweet to hear you say that." 

"Now, my love, we are in an awful situation. What 
are we to do with the General storming around pre- 
paring for a grand wedding? What if that jailer gives 
out the news ? McLeod can get it out of him if he ever 
suspects anything." 

" Don't worry, dear. I'll manage everything. We've 
fixed the wedding on the Inauguration day — so you 
can't be defeated. We will be busy day and night 
getting ready my trousseau and issuing our invitations. 
Papa will never dream that one ceremony has been 
performed already. He need never know it until we 
are ready to tell him." 

"If he discovers it he will swear I have tried to 
humiliate him, and he will never forgive it. Telegraph 
me if anything happens and I will come immediately. 
I can't see you for weeks in the campaign, but I will 
write to you every day." 

449 



450 The Leopard's Spots 

"His Excellency, the Governor of North Carolina!" 
she softly exclaimed, with a dreamy look into his face. 
" My lover!" 

"Don't make me vain. I may be the Governor, but 
I shall always be the slave of a beautiful woman who 
came one day to a jail and made it a palace with the 
glory of her love." 

"I'm glad I didn't wait for your success." 

The campaign which followed was the most remark- 
able ever conducted in the history of an American 
commonwealth. In the dawn of the twentieth century 
a resistless movement was inaugurated to destroy the 
party in control of a state, and affiliated with the most 
powerful national administration since Andrew 
Jackson's, on the open declaration of their intention 
to nullify the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to 
the Constitution of the Republic. 

There was no violence except the calm demonstration 
in open daylight of omnipotent racial power and the 
defiance of any foe to lift a hand in protest. 

When Gaston spoke at Independence five thousand 
white men dressed in scarlet shirts rode silently through 
the streets in solemn parade, and six thousand Negroes 
watched them with fear. There was no cheering or 
demonstration of any kind. The silence of the proces- 
sion gave it the import of a religious rite. A thousand 
picked men were in line from Hambright and Campbell 
County, and they formed the guard of honour for their 
candidate for Governor. 

Like scenes were enacted everywhere. Again the 
Anglo-Saxon race was fused into a solid mass. The 
result was a foregone conclusion. 



CHAPTER XV 
THE HIGHER LAW 

McLEOD knew from the day of that outburst 
which followed Gaston's speech in the Demo- 
cratic convention that no power on earth 
could save his ticket. To the world he put on a bold 
face and made his fight to the last ditch, predicting 
victory. 

His secret anger against the Preacher and Gaston, his 
pet, knew no bounds. Chagrined at his repulse by 
Mrs. Durham and the attitude of contempt she had 
maintained toward him, his tongue began to wag her 
name in slander to the crowd of young satellites loafing 
around his office in Hambright. 

"Yes, boys," he said, "the Preacher is a great man, 
but his wife is greater. She's the handsomest woman 
in the state in spite of a gray thread or two in her rich, 
chestnut hair. She has the most beautiful mouth that 
ever tempted the soul of a man — and, boys, my lips 
know what it means to touch it." 

And when they stared with open eyes at this state- 
ment, McLeod shook his head, laughed and whispered: 

"Say nothing about it — but facts are facts." 

McLeod chuckled over the certainty of the shame and 
suffering that would wring the Preacher's heart when 
dirty gossips of a village had magnified these words into 
a complete drama of scandal. For all preachers McLeod 
had profound contempt, and he felt secure now from 
personal harm. 

The day the Preacher first heard of these rumours was 

451 



452 The Leopard's Spots 

the occasion of Gaston's campaign address under the 
old oak in the square. He had looked forward to this 
day with boyish pride mingled with a great fatherly 
love. It would be his triumph. He had stirred this 
boy's imagination and moulded his character in the 
pliant hours of his childhood. He had told himself 
that day he spent with him in the woods fishing that 
he had kindled a fire in his soul that would not go out 
till it blazed on the altar of a redeemed country. And 
he was living to see that day. 

The streets and square were thronged with such a 
multitude as the village had never seen since it was 
built. But the Preacher was not among them at the 
hour the speaking began. 

A simple old friend from the country asked him about 
these rumours. He turned pale as death, made no 
answer, and walked rapidly toward his study in the 
church where his library was now arranged. He was 
dazed with horror. It was the first he had heard of 
it. One thing in his estimate of life had always been 
as securely fixed and sheltered in his thought as his 
faith in God, and that was his love for his wife and his 
perfect faith in her honour. 

He closed his door and locked it and sat down, trying 
to think. 

Had he not grown careless in the certainty of his 
wife's devotion and his own quiet but intense love? 
Had he not forgotten the yearning of a woman's heart 
for the eternal repetition of love's language of sign and 
word? 

The tears were in his eyes now, and he felt that his 
heart would beat to death and break within him ! 

He saw that his enemy had struck at his weakest spot, 
and struck to kill. 

He lifted his face toward the walls in a vague, unseeing 



The Higher Law 453 

look and his eyes rested on a pair of crossed swords 
over a bookcase. They had been handed down to him 
from a long line of fighting ancestors. He arose, took 
them down mechanically, and drew one from its 
scabbard. How snugly its rough hilt fitted his nervous 
hand-grip ! He felt a curious throbbing in this hilt- like 
a pulse. It was alive, and its spirit stirred deep waters 
in his soul that had never been ruffled before. 

He recalled vaguely in memory things he knew 
had never happened to him and yet were part of his 
inmost life. 

"Damn him!" he involuntarily hissed, as he gripped 
the sword hilt with the instinctive power of the fighting 
animal that sleeps beneath the skin of all our culture 
and religion. 

And then his eyes rested on a quaint little daguerreo- 
type picture of his wife in her bridal dress, her sweet 
girlish face full of innocent pride and warm with his 
love. By its side he saw the portrait of their dead boy. 
How he recalled now every hour of that wonderful 
period preceding his birth — the unspeakable pride and 
tenderness with which he watched over his young wife ! 
He recalled the morning of his birth, and the heart- 
rending, piteous cries of young motherhood that tore 
his heart until the nails of his own fingers cut the flesh 
and drew the blood. How the minutes seemed long 
hours, and how at last he bent over her, softly kissed the 
drawn white lips, and gazed with tearful wonder and 
awe on the little red bundle resting on her breast ! He 
recalled the tremor of weariness in her voice when she 
drew his head down close and whispered: 

"I didn't mind the pain, John, though I couldn't help 
the cries. He's yours and mine — I am as proud as a 
queen. Now our souls are one in him — I am tired — I 
must sleep." 



454 The Leopard's Spots 

Every movement of his past life seemed to stand out 
in this crisis with fiery clearness. He seemed to live 
in an instant whole years in every detail of that closeness 
of personal life that makes marriage a part of every 
stroke of the heart. 

At last he set his lips firmly and said: 

"Yes, damn him, I will kill him as I would a snake I" 

He sat down and wrote his resignation as pastor of 
the church, left it on his desk, and strode hurriedly 
from the study, leaving his door open. He purchased 
a revolver and a box of cartridges and walked straight 
to McLeod's office. 

The speaking was over, and McLeod was alone, 
writing letters. He looked up with scant politeness as 
the Preacher entered, and motioned him to a seat. 

Instead of seating himself, he closed the door and, 
standing erect in front of it, said: 

"Allan McLeod, you are the author of an infamous 
slander reflecting on the honour of my wife." 

"Indeed!" McLeod sneered, wheeling in his chair. 

"I always knew that you were a moral leper " 

"Of course, Doctor, of course, but don't get excited," 
laughed McLeod, enjoying the marks of anguish on his 
face. 

"But that your lecherous body should dream of 
invading the sanctity of my home, and your tongue 
attempt to smirch its honour, was beyond my wildest 
dream of your effrontery. How dare you? " 

"Dare? Dare, Preacher?" interrupted McLeod, still 
sneering. "Why, by 'The Higher Law,' of course. 
You have been teaching all your life that there are higher 
laws than paper-made statutes. You have trained this 
county in crime under this beautiful ideal. Surely I 
may follow the teachings of a master in Israel ? ' ' 

"What do you mean, you red-headed devil?" 



The Higher Law 455 

"Softly, Preacher," smiled McLeod. "Simply this. 
You expound 'The Higher Law' for political consump- 
tion. I apply it to all life. 

"There are but two real laws of man's nature — hunger 
and love. All others change with time and progress. 
These are the higher laws — in fact, they are the highest 
laws. The stupid conventions that superstition has 
built around them may hold back the weak, but the 
powerful have always defied them. Your brilliant 
exposition of the higher law in politics first set my mind 
to work and led me to a complete emancipation from 
the slavery of conventionalism in which fools have held 
society for centuries. There are conventional laws and 
superstitions about the little ceremony called marriage 
cherished by the weak-minded. There is a higher law 
of nature. The brave live this life of daring freedom, 
while cowards cling to forms. Do I make myself 
clear?" 

"Perfectly so, you mottled leper. You think that 
because I am a preacher I am a poltoon, and that you 
can play with me without danger to your skin. Well, 
I was a man before I was a preacher. There are some 
things deeper than the forms of religion, if you wish to 
push the higher law to its last application. You have 
found that quick in my soul, mine enemy ! I have 
resigned my church — to kill you. There is not room 
for you and me on this earth " 

McLeod sprang to his feet, his soul chilled by the tone 
in which the threat was uttered. He started to call for 
help, and looked down the gleaming barrel of a revolver. 

"Move now or open your mouth and I kill you 
instantly. Sit down. I give you five minutes to write 
your last message to this world." 

McLeod sank into his seat trembling like a leaf, with 
the perspiration standing out on his forehead in cold 



45 6 The Leopard's Spots 

beads. Now and then he glanced furtively at the stern 
face of blind fury towering over his crouching form. 

Unable to endure the terrible strain, he sank to the 
floor whining, slobbering, begging in abject cowardice 
for his life. He crawled toward the Preacher, reached 
out his hand and touched his foot. 

11 My God, Doctor, you are mad ! You will not commit 
murder. You are a minister of Jesus Christ. Have 
mercy. I am at your feet. Your wife is as pure as an 
angel. I only said what I did to torture you " 

"Get up, you snake!" hissed the Preacher, stamping 
his body with all his might until McLeod screamed with 
pain and scrambled to his feet cowering and whining 
like a cur. 

1 ' Finish your letter. You will never leave this room 
alive." 

A long, pitiful sob broke the stillness, and McLeod 
was looking into the Preacher's face in vain for a ray 
of hope. 

Suddenly Gaston burst into the room, trembling with 
excitement. "My God, Doctor, what does this mean?" 
he cried, seizing the revolver. 

McLeod sprang toward Gaston, groaning and crawling 
toward his feet. "Save me, Gaston ! The Doctor's gone 
mad ! He is about to kill me ! " 

"Charlie, I must!" pleaded the Preacher. 

"No, no; this is madness. I thank God I am in time. 
I missed you at the speaking, and, hearing a rumour of 
this slander, I hurried to find you. I saw your study 
open and read your letter. I knew I'd find you here. 
I'll manage McLeod." 

The Preacher sat down crying. McLeod had crawled 
back to his desk and was mopping his face. Gaston 
walked over to him and said with slow, trembling 
emphasis : 



The Higher Law 457 

"I give you twelve hours to close this office, wind up 
your business, and leave. In the meantime, you will 
write a denial of this slander satisfactory to me for 
publication. If you ever open your mouth again about 
my foster mother, or put your foot in this county, I 
will kill you. I expect your letter ready in two 
hours." 

Gaston took the Preacher by the arm and led him 
down the stairs and back to his study. In the reaction, 
there was a pitiable breakdown. 

"Oh! Charlie, you've saved me from an unspeakable 
horror. Yes, I was mad. I was proud and wilful. I 
thought I knew myself. To-day I have looked into the 
bottom of hell. I have seen the depths of my own heart. 
Yes, I have in me the germs of all sin and crime. I am 
the brother of every thief, of every murderer, of every 
scarlet woman of the streets that ever stood in the 
stocks or climbed the steps of a gallows " 

" Hush, I will not listen to such talk. You are a man, 
that's all," interrupted Gaston. 

"But God's mercy is great," he went on. "I have 
tried to live for my people and my country, not for 
myself. If I have failed to be a faithful husband, this 
is my plea to God: I have not thought of myself nor 
of my own, but of others." 

After an hour he was quiet, and, turning to Gaston, 
he said: 

"Charlie, go tell your mother to come here; I want 
to see her." 

When she came and sat down beside him with quiet 
dignity, she said: "Now, Doctor, say what you wish. 
Charlie has told me much, but not all. Let us look into 
each other's souls to-day." 

"I only want to ask you, dear," he said, tenderly, 
"just how far your friendship for this villain may have 



458 The Leopard's Spots 

led you. I know you are innocent of any crime. I 
only want to know the measure of my own guilt." 

"You know, John," she said, using his first name as 
she had not for years, "he has always interested me from 
a boy, and in the darkest hour of my heart's life, when I 
felt your love growing cold and slipping away from me 
and my faith in all things fading, he attempted to make 
vulgar love to me. I repulsed him with scorn, and have 
since treated him with contempt. You know that I 
kissed him once when he was a boy. I have told you 
all. What do you propose to do?" 

"What will I do, my darling? " he softly asked, taking 
her hand. "Begin anew from this moment to love and 
cherish, honour and protect you unto death. You are 
my wife. I took you a beautiful child, innocent of the 
world. If you have failed in the least, I have failed. 
If you have stumbled in the dark even in your thought 
I will lift you in my arms and soothe you as a mother 
would her babe. If you should fall into the bottomless 
pit, into the pit and down to the lowest depths of hell, 
I would go and lift you in the arms of my love. To 
break the tie that binds us is unthinkable. It has passed 
into the infinite. Not only are our souls one in a little boy's 
grave, but there is something so absorbing, so interwoven 
with the hidden things of nature in our union that I 
defy all the fiends in perdition to break it. Love is 
eternal. And your love for me was the great fixed 
thing in my life like my faith in the living God." 

"Oh, John, you are breaking my heart now, when I 
think that I doubted your love ! I could have brooked 
your anger, but this overwhelms me!" 

"It has always been my character," he gravely said. 

"Then I have never known you until now" — and she 
fell sobbing on his breast, the years rolled back, and 
they were in the sweet springtime of life again. 



CHAPTER XVI 
THE END OF A MODERN VILLAIN 

TWO days after McLeod's flight from Hambright 
the press despatches flashed from New York a 
startling two-column account of the attempted 
assassination of the Honourable Allan McLeod, the 
Republican leader of North Carolina, in the terrific 
campaign in progress, and that he was compelled to 
flee from the state to save his life. 

Gaston was elected Governor by the largest majority 
ever given a candidate for that office in the history of 
North Carolina. 

McLeod was promptly rewarded for his long career of 
villainy by an appointment as our Ambassador to one 
of the Republics of South America, and the Senate at 
once confirmed him. His dream of a life of ease and 
luxury had come at last. 

For six months he had been quietly going to Boston, 
paying the most ardent court to Miss Susan Walker, 
whom he had met at her college at Independence. She 
was a matured spinster now approaching sixty years 
of age, and worth $5,000,000 in her own name. 

He had easy sailing from the first. He joined her 
church in Boston, after a brilliant profession of religion 
that moved Miss Walker to tears, for he had told her it 
was her love that had opened his eyes. And it was 
true. 

McLeod timed his last visit to Boston so that he 
arrived the day the city was ringing with the sensation 

459 



460 The Leopard's Spots 

of his attempted assassination and the desperate fight 
he was making to uphold law and order in the South. 
When Miss Walker read that article in her paper she 
resolved to marry him immediately. She gave McLeod 
a wedding present of a half-million dollars. He wept 
for joy and gratitude, and kissed her with a fervour that 
satisfied her hungry heart that he was the one peerless 
lover of the world. 



CHAPTER XVII 
WEDDING BELLS IN THE GOVERNOR'S MANSION 

TWO days after McLeod and his bride reached 
Asheville on their wedding trip, General Worth 
received a letter which threw him into a par- 
oxysm of rage. Sallie's wedding had been fixed for 
the day of the inauguration of- the Governor. The 
invitations were out and society in a flutter of comment 
and gossip over the romantic and brilliant career of 
young Gaston, and his luck in winning power, love 
and fortune in a day. 

The letter was from McLeod, at Asheville, informing 
him that his daughter was already married, and that 
Gaston was simply seeking his fortune by a subterfuge, 
and showing his power over him by humiliating him at 
the last moment before the world. He enclosed a 
transcript of the marriage record, signed by the Reverend 
John Durham, and witnessed by Mrs. Durham and 
Stella Holt. This record was certified before the Clerk 
of the Court and bore his seal. There was no doubt 
of the facts. 

When the General handed this letter to Sallie she 
flushed, looked wistfully into his face, saw its hard 
expression of speechless anger, turned pale and burst 
into tears. 

Her father without a word went to his room and 
locked himself in for twenty-four hours, refusing to see 
her or speak to her. 

On the following day she forced her way into his 

461 



462 The Leopard's Spots 

presence, and they had the last great battle of wills. All 
the iron power of his unconquered pride, accustomed 
for a lifetime to command men and receive instant 
obedience, was roused to the pitch of madness. 

"If you marry him I swear to you a thousand times 
you shall never cross my doorstep and you shall never 
receive one penny of my fortune. He is a gambler and 
an adventurer, and seeks to make me a laughing-stock 
for the world." 

"Papa, nothing could be further from his thoughts. 
He has always loved and respected you. I assume all 
the responsibility for our secret marriage." 

"Then sharper than a serpent's tooth is the ingratitude 
of a disobedient child!" 

"But, Papa, I waited five years of patient suffering 
trying to obey you," she protested. 

"I had rather see you dead than to see you marry 
that man now and have him sneer his triumph in 
my face." 

"We are already married. Why talk like that?" she 
pleaded, tearfully. 

"I deny it. I am going to annul that marriage. 
Felony is ground for the dissolution of the marriage tie. 
A ceremony performed under such conditions when one 
of the parties is in prison charged with felony without 
bail is illegal, and I'll show it. The lawyers will be here 
in an hour and I will take action to-morrow." 

"Never, with my consent!" she firmly replied. She 
left the room, consulted her mother, and hastily des- 
patched a telegram to Hambright summoning Gaston 
to Independence immediately. 

When this telegram came he was in his office hard at 
work on his inaugural address, outlining the policy of 
his administration. He was in a heated argument with 
the Preacher about the article on education, which 



Wedding Bells in the Governor's Mansion 463 

followed his recommendation of the disfranchisement 
of the Negro. 

He had advised large appropriations for the industrial 
training of Negroes along the lines of the new move- 
ment of their more sober leaders. 

1 ' It's a mistake," argued the Preacher. "If the Negr* 
is made master of the industries of the South he will 
become the master of the South. Sooner than allow him 
to take the bread from their mouths, the white men will 
kill him here, as they do North, when the struggle for 
bread becomes as tragic. The Negro must ultimately 
leave this continent. You might as well begin to 
prepare for it." 

"But we propose to train him principally in agri- 
culture. We need millions of good farmers," persisted 
Gaston. 

" So much the worse, I tell you," replied the Preacher. 
"Make the Negro a scientific and successful farmer, and 
let him plant his feet deep in your soil, and it will mean 
a race war." 

"It seems to me impracticable ever to move him." 

"Why?" asked the Preacher. "Those over certain 
ages can be left to end their days here. The Negro has 
cost us already the loss of $7,000,000,000, a war that 
killed a half-million men, the debauchery of our suffrage, 
the corruption of our life, and threatens the future with 
anarchy. Lincoln was right when he said: 

1 ' ' There is a physical difference between the white and 
the black races which, I believe, will forever forbid them 
living together on terms of social and political equality.* 

"Even you are still labouring under the delusions of 
'Reconstruction.' The Ethiopian cannot change his 
skin, or the leopard his spots. Those who think it 
possible will always tell you that the place to work this 
miracle is in the South. Exactly. If a man really 



464 The Leopard's Spots 

believes in equality, let him prove it by giving his 
daughter to a negro in marriage. That is the test. 
When she sinks with her mulatto children into the black 
abyss of a Negroid life, then ask him ! Your scheme of 
education is humbug. You don't believe that any 
amount of education can fit a Negro to rule an Anglo- 
Saxon, or to marry his daughter. Then don't be a 
hypocrite." 

"But can we afford to stop his education?" 

"The more you educate, the more impossible you 
make his position in a democracy. Education ! Can 
you change the colour of his skin, the kink of his hair, 
the bulge of his lips, the spread of his nose, or the beat 
of his heart, with a spelling-book? The Negro is the 
human donkey. You can train him, but you can't 
make of him a horse. Mate him with a horse, you lose 
the horse, and get a larger donkey called a mule, incap- 
able of preserving his species. What is called our race 
prejudice is simply God's first law of nature — the 
instinct of self-preservation." 

Gaston was gazing at the ceiling with an absent look 
in his eyes and a smile playing around his lips. 

"You are not listening to me now, you young rascal I 
You are dreaming about your bride." 

Gaston quickly lowered his eyes and saw the mes- 
senger boy, who had been standing several minutes with 
his telegram. 

He read Sallie's message with amazement. 

" What can that mean ? " He handed the telegram to 
the Preacher. 

"It means he has discovered the facts and there is 
going to be trouble. He is a man of terrific passions 
when his pride is roused." 

" I must go immediately." 

He closed his office and caught his train after a hard 



Wedding Bells in the Governor's Mansion 465 

drive. When he reached Independence he sprang into a 
carriage and ordered the driver to take him direct to 
Oakwood. What had happened he did not know and 
he did not care. Of one thing he was now sure — Sallie's 
love and the swift end of their separation. 

His heart was singing with a great joy as he drove 
over the famffiar avenue through the deep shadows of 
the woods and, turning through the gate, saw the light 
gleaming from the room. 

" God bless her, she's mine now — I hope I can take her 
home to-night !" he cried. 

She had walked down the drive to meet him. He 
leaped from the carriage, kissed her and asked: 

"What is it, dear?" 

"McLeod wrote him about our marriage, and now he 
swears he will bring a suit to annul it. Leave your car- 
riage here and come with me. If he don't send these 
lawyers away and receive you, I will be ready to go with 
you in an hour." 

"Queen of my heart!" he whispered. "You are all 
mine at last." 

She called her father from the library into the parlour 
and stood on the very spot where Gaston had writhed 
in agony on that night of his interview with the General. 

He started at the expression on her face and the tense 
vigour with which she held herself erect. His suit had 
not been progressing well with his lawyers. They had 
tried to humour him, but had declined to express any 
hope of success in such an action. He saw they were 
half-hearted and it depressed him. 

"Now, Papa," she firmly said, "it will not take us 
ten minutes to decide forever the question of our lives. 
If you take another step with these lawyers — if you do 
not dismiss them at once, I will leave this house in an 
hour, go with the man of my choice to his home, and you 



466 The Leopard's Spots 

will never see me again. You shall not humiliate me 
nor him another hour." 

The General looked at her as though stunned; his 
voice trembled as he replied : 

"Would you leave me so in an hour, dear ? " 

"Yes; Charlie is waiting there on the porch for me 
now, and his carriage is outside. I will not subject him 
to another insult, nor allow any one else to do it." 

The General sank heavily into a chair and stretched 
out his hands toward her in a gesture of tender entreaty. 

"Come, child and kiss me — you know I can't live 
without you! Forgive all the foolish things I've said 
in anger and pride. Your happiness is more to me 
than all else." 

She was crying now in his arms. 

"Go, bring Charlie. The youngster has beaten me. 
I've fought a foeman worthy of my steel. It's no 
disgrace to surrender to him." 

In a moment she led Gaston into the room, and the 
General grasped his hand. 

"Young man, for the last time I welcome you to this 
house. Now, it is yours. You can run this place to 
suit yourself. I've worked all my life for Sallie. I give 
up the ship to you." 

"General, let me assure you of my warmest love. I 
have never said an unkind thing or harboured a harsh 
thought toward you. I shall be proud of you as my 
father. I have loved you and Mrs. Worth since the first 
day I looked into Sallie's face." 

The invitations stood. Gaston returned immediately 
to Hambright, and on the morning of the inauguration, 
accompanied by Bob St. Clare and the Chief Justice of 
the Supreme Court, he entered the grand old mansion 
with its stately pillars and claimed his bride. The 
Chief Justice performed a civil ceremony, and the party 



"Wedding Bells in the Governor's Mansion 467 

started on a triumphal procession to the capital. The 
General was bubbling over with pride in the handsome 
appearance the bride and groom made, and tried to 
outdo himself in kindliness toward Gaston. 

"Come to think it over, Governor," he said to him 
after the inauguration, "it was a brave thing in my little 
girl, marching into that jail alone and marrying her lover 
in a prison, wasn't it ? By George, she's a chip off the 
old block ! I don't care if the world does know it." 

"General, that was the bravest thing a woman could 
do. She is the heroine of the drama. I play second 
part." 

They did not wait long for the people to know it. At 
four o'clock in the afternoon an extra appeared with a 
startling account of the fact that the Governor's beauti- 
ful bride had braved the world and secretly married 
him when his fortunes were at ebb-tide and he was a 
prisoner in the Asheville jail. 

That night, when Sallie entered the banquet hall of 
the Governor's Mansion, leaning proudly on Gaston's 
arm, she was greeted with an outburst of homage and 
deep feeling she had never dreamed of receiving. When 
the Governor acknowledged the applause of his name, 
he bowed to his bride, not to the crowd. 

The Preacher rose to respond to the toast, "The 
Master and the Mistress of the Governor's Mansion," 
and seemed to pay no attention to the Governor, but, 
turning to Sallie, he said : 

"To the queenly daughter of the South, who had eyes 
to see a glorious manhood behind prison bars, the nobility 
to stoop from wealth to poverty and transform a jail into 
a palace with the beauty of her face and the splendour 
of her love — to her, the heroine who inspired Charles 
Gaston with power to mould a million wills in his, change 
the current of history, and become the Governor of the 



468 The Leopard's Spots 

Commonwealth — to her all honour, and praise, and 
homage. 

"My daughter, it is meet that our wealth and beauty 
should mate with the genius and chivalry of the South. 
May it ever be so, and may your children's children be as 
the sands of the sea !" 

Sallie bowed her head as every eye was turned admir- 
ingly upon her. The General trembled, and when the 
crowd rose to their feet and reechoed, "To her all honour 
and praise and homage," and the Governor bent proudly 
kissing her hand, he bowed his head and wept. 

Her mother, sitting by her side with shining eyes, 
pressed her hand and whispered : 

"My beautiful daughter, now my work is done." 

As Gaston strolled out on the lawn with his bride after 
the banquet, they found a seat in a secluded spot amid 
the shrubbery. 

"My sweet wife !" he exclaimed. 

"My husband!" she whispered, as they tenderly 
clasped hands. 

"Tell me now who was the author of all those lies 
about me to your father ? " 

"Why ask it, dear? You know Allan wrote the last 
letter." 

"The dastard. I was sure of it from the first. Well, 
he had the facts in that last letter, didn't he ? " 

"Yes," she answered, with a smile. 

They rose to return to the Mansion, roused by the 
stroke of midnight from the clock in the tower of the 
City Hall. 

"From to-night, my dear," he said, with enthusiasm, 
"you will share with me all the honours and responsi- 
bilities of public life." 

"No, my love, I do not desire any part in public life 
except through you. You are my world. I ask no 



Wedding Bells in the Governor's Mansion 469 

higher gift of God than your love, whether you live in a 
Governor's Mansion or the humblest cottage. I desire 
no career save that of a wife — your wife" — she hid her 
face on his breast as a little sob caught her voice, "and 
I would not change places with the proudest queen that 
ever wore a crown." She said this looking up into his 
face through a mist of tears. 

With trembling lips and dimmed eyes he stooped and 
kissed her as he replied : 

"And I had rather be the husband of such a woman 
than to be the ruler of the world." 

THE END